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W
hen Michelle Geyer (Massey) took her
daughter Jessie to her pediatrician,
he was concerned that she might
have a bacterial infection in her blood. Jessie was
sent to the emergency room at a local hospital
specifically for a sepsis culture. Sepsis is a serious
medical condition caused by an overwhelming
immune response to infection that can start from
something as simple as a scratch, insect bite or
urinary infection. Sepsis kills nearly a third of the
people who develop it--especially those who do
not receive immediate medical attention. At the
emergency room, Michelle was told that Jessie's
blood culture results were negative, and that her
daughter probably just had a flu-like virus. She was
assured that Jessie would be as good as new in a
few days.
Seven-year-old Jessica Marie Geyer died
unexpectedly due to a misdiagnosed bacterial
infection that could have been treated with
antibiotics. The infection was found in her heart,
lungs, tonsils, liver, blood vessels, and in the skin
around the wound. For little Jessie, it meant that
she would never go to middle school, walk down
the aisle, or give Michelle grandchildren.
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"We've all heard that the practice of medicine is
as much an art as it is an objective science. The
complexities of human biology and disease, genetic
disparities, and the limits of our scientific knowledge
and technical abilities make this so. This reality is
nowhere more apparent than in the realm of patient
safety and medical complications." ~ Hooman
Noorchashm, MD, PhD, Amy J. Reed, MD & PhD, The
Cost of Assumption in Medicine
There were many deadly assumptions
surrounding the death of little Jessica. The
pediatrician that sent Jessica to the hospital
Healthcare
p
dvocacy
DEATH BY ASSUMPTION
The Patient
Advocate
A Monthly Healthcare Advocacy Editorial by Joni
Aldrich, Christopher Jerry, and Graham Whiteside