There is a saying that no good deed goes unpunished. A woman in Michigan learned this the hard way when she agreed to watch her sister-in-law’s cat while the in-law was out of town. Our subject was told that the cat was a spayed female, but instead, the cat was a male that had not been fixed—and was therefore aggressive. While she was feeding the cat, a stray from the neighborhood wandered into the garage, which prompted a cat fight. Our heroine made the mistake of trying to intervene and she consequently was bitten several times on her hand, forearm, and thumb.
Thinking it was no big deal, she cleaned up the bite wounds and went about her business. Then the infection set in, and she went to the emergency room for treatment. Over the course of a month, she went to hospitals three times and had varying levels of treatment provided to her, including antibiotics almost one month after her first visit. Three surgeries later, she had an intense amount of pain and suffering. She initiated a lawsuit against the hospital and doctors in question on the theory that they failed to properly diagnose the extent of her infectious injury and failed to properly treat the injury, thus allowing the infection to spread, necessitating all of those surgeries. Her argument was that she would have had much less pain and suffering and would not have needed multiple surgeries if the doctors properly treated her infections in the first place. She therefore made a claim to be compensated for her pain and suffering.In a malpractice action, one must show that the care that one received did not meet the general “standard of care” required under the circumstances. It should be pointed out that the severity of cat-bite wounds is not unknown to the medical profession. In fact, most doctors strongly believe that cat bites need to be treated “aggressively” due to the severity of the infections they bring.
Beware of Cat Bites!
It is not that cats’ mouths are dirtier than other animals’, such as dogs’. Dog bites tend to involve more “tearing” lacerations that usually require immediate emergency care to clean and stitch; therefore are more likely to be cleaned thoroughly and treated properly. Cats’ teeth are much sharper and their bites are more like “punctures” that penetrate deep into the flesh, in essence injecting bacteria into the wound with less tearing. This prompts most people to just clean up the wounds and forget about them until the infection spreads. Also, bites to the extremities are more at risk because there is less blood flowing to those areas, allowing the bacteria to spread deep into the tissues and bones.
So how do many doctors treat cat bites? Usually, with a series of intravenous drips of powerful antibiotics to get as much medication to the affected areas as possible and to prevent any spreading to other tissues. Perhaps if the Michigan doctors had followed that protocol, our woman’s outcome might not have been as severe, especially since it appears that they waited for almost a month before prescribing the first antibiotic. One thing that all of us can take away from this story is if you want to avoid a cat bite, avoid cats. But if you are bitten by a cat, seek immediate treatment at an emergency room in order to minimize the risk of rampant infection.
If you, or someone you care about, have been the victim of medical malpractice, then you need attorneys knowledgeable in the field to assist you in obtaining proper compensation for your injuries. Doctors and hospitals have lawyers defending them. Do not try and take them on alone. Call the medical malpractice attorneys at Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC at (312) 644-0444 to schedule your free, no-obligation, confidential consultation. Don’t delay, call today.