$2.1 Million Jury Verdict for Failure to Timely Diagnose and Treat Temporal Arteritis

Sharon Wiser, 62, had a history of migraine headaches. She experienced right-sided headaches over a two-week period. She went to Essentia Health Duluth Clinic, where she reported her headache history and told the clinic staff that she was suffering from blurred vision.

Wiser was discharged from the clinic with a diagnosis of a migraine headache and was given a prescription for Toradol. The next day, she consulted a family physician who advised her to follow up if her symptoms did not improve.

One week later, she returned to Duluth Clinic, where internist Dr. Alan Peterson ordered a CT scan of her head. The next night, however, she went to an emergency room, complaining of a significant headache.

The emergency department physician, Dr. John Holst, examined Wiser and diagnosed her with migraine headache and instructed her to follow up with her primary care physician. A few days later, she was told that Dr. Peterson had looked at the CT scan images and maintained his diagnosis of migraine headache.

Within two weeks, she was hospitalized and diagnosed as having temporal arteritis, which resulted in permanent loss of vision in her right eye. Temporal arteritis is a form of inflammation of blood vessels. The temporal arteries are the blood vessels near the temples that supply blood from the heart to the scalp and become inflamed and constricted. It is well-noted that the first signs of temporal arteritis include persistent, severe head pain, usually in the temple area. It also includes vision loss or double vision and other symptoms. Wiser displayed most of these symptoms.

She was a restaurant owner; because of her permanent loss, her ability to work has been significantly diminished.

Wiser sued Drs. Peterson, Holst and the clinic alleging that they chose not to timely diagnose and treat temporal arteritis. She asserted that the severity and duration of her headaches should have prompted the defendants to consider a different diagnosis of temporal arteritis and order specific tests.

The defendants argued that she had failed to follow her medical providers’ instructions and had not fully described her symptoms and past medical history when she was seen by these doctors and clinic.

After a jury trial, the jury signed a verdict for $2.1 million, apportioning liability at 65% to Dr. Peterson, 25% to Sharon Wiser and 10% to Dr. Holst.

The attorneys representing Sharon Wiser were J. Mark Catron, Nathaniel A. Dahl, Michael Kemp and Shawn Taylor.

Wiser’s attorneys engaged experts specializing in family medicine and neuro-ophthalmology.

Wiser v. Peterson, No. 69 DUCV 162025 (Minn. Dist. Ct. St. Louis County).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling misdiagnosis of brain injury cases, medical negligence lawsuits, birth trauma injury lawsuits, traumatic brain injury cases and emergency department physician negligence cases for individuals, families and loved ones who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of a medical provider for more than 40 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Addison, Buffalo Grove, Elmhurst, Hinsdale, Schiller Park, Oak Brook, Chicago (Avondale, Belmont Cragin, Burnside, Calumet Heights, Chatham, Chicago Lawn, Douglas, East Garfield Park, Englewood, Irving Park, Lincoln Square, Lower West Side, North Park, Norwood Park, South Chicago, Uptown, West Elston, Pullman, Woodlawn, Ukrainian Village, Noble Square), Westchester, Lombard, Downers Grove, Glendale Heights, Bloomingdale, Roselle, Carol Stream, Warrenville, Woodridge, Mokena, Frankfort, Crete, Hoffman Estates, Vernon Hills, Highwood, Waukegan, Winthrop Harbor, Lake Villa, Lindenhurst, Round Lake and Hawthorne Woods, Ill.

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