$25.3 Million Jury Verdict for Negligence Related to Treatment of Stroke

Jerri Woodring-Thueson suffered a stroke. Several days later, tests showed a suspected vertebrobasilar arterial dissection. She was transferred to Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center, the nearest comprehensive stroke center.

A vertebral artery dissection is a flap-like tear of the inner linings of the vertebral artery, which is located in the neck and supplies blood to the brain. After such a tear, blood enters the arterial wall and forms a blood clot to thicken the artery wall; often it blocks blood flow.

Shortly after her admission to the Seattle facility, she experienced nausea, vertigo, decreased hearing, blurred vision and uncontrolled eye movements. A repeat MRI was negative for new strokes. Woodring-Thueson’s treating physicians continued her on dual antiplatelet therapy, which included aspirin.

A week after Woodring-Thueson’s admission, she experienced slurred speech, facial numbness and paralysis, and she had difficulty finding words. A Doppler study showed a narrowing of the vertebrobasilar artery.

Woodring-Thueson was then started on IV heparin, a blood thinner. That night she continued to experience slurred speech. Residents at the hospital paged the attending physician, who did not return to the hospital.

By the next morning, Woodring-Thueson was unable to follow commands. STAT imaging revealed evolving infarcts and decreased flow of the left vertebral artery, consistent with basilar occlusion.

The on-call interventionalist attempted an emergency basilar artery thrombectomy, stenting and coiling of an unruptured pseudoaneurysm. When these procedures were unsuccessful, the doctor administered tPA, the clot-busting agent.

Two days later, Woodring-Thueson’s basilar artery reoccluded. Despite intervention, Woodring-Thueson now suffers from permanent brain damage, resulting in speech and motor deficits, right-sided paralysis, severe weakness, swallowing issues and incontinence. She had been a judicial assistant at the Montana Supreme Court.

Woodring-Thueson and her husband sued the University of Washington, which operates Harborview, alleging that they chose not to administer timely anti-coagulation medication and consult with a neurointerventionalist before the basilar artery occluded. The Woodring-Thueson family also asserted that the defendant hospital chose not to obtain adequate informed consent for various treatment options, take sufficient imaging of the affected vessel, and adequately supervise residents and interns on the neurology service.

The jury signed a verdict for approximately $25.3 million.

The attorneys successfully representing Woodring-Thueson and her husband were Jack R. Connelly Jr., Nathan P. Roberts, Matthew J. Wurdeman and Susan E. Wassell.

At trial, the Woodring-Thueson family presented experts in vascular neurology, interventional radiology, stroke neurology, life care planning and economics.

The defendant hospital presented experts in stroke neurology.

Woodring-Thueson v. University of Washington, No. 15-29985 (SEA Wash. Super. Ct. King County).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling hospital negligence lawsuits, medical negligence cases, traumatic brain injury lawsuits, neurology negligence cases and physician negligence lawsuits 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 Northbrook, Northfield, Glenview, Glencoe, Wilmette, Hinsdale, Naperville, Deerfield, Evergreen Park, Country Club Hills, Countryside, Burbank, Blue Island, Hodgkins, Harvey, Hanover Park, Glenwood, Orland Hills, Streamwood, Steger, Beecher, Willow Springs, Sauk Village, Roselle, Chicago (Wicker Park, Wrigleyville, Rosehill, Irving Park, Lakeview, Lakewood-Balmoral, Lawndale, Little Village, Morgan Park, Medical Village, McKinley Park, Old Town, Oakland, North Ravenswood, Pulaski Park, Bucktown, Avondale, Andersonville, Fuller Park, Fulton River District, Gage Park, Gold Coast, Humboldt Park), Park Ridge, Palos Heights, Alsip, Bedford Park, Berkeley and Berwyn, Ill.

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