Articles Posted in Brain Injury

Christine Coffey was diagnosed as having a “berry aneurysm.” The vascular surgeon assigned to Coffey was Dr. Henry Woo who reviewed Coffey’s images and advised her that an untreated aneurysm could cause sudden death.

Dr. Woo performed an Onyx brain aneurysm procedure. During the procedure, Coffey suffered brain damage that has left her with permanent hemiparesis. Hemiparesis, or unilateral paresis, is the weakness of one side of the body. Hemiparesis can be caused by different medical conditions, including stroke.
Coffey had worked at a hospital, but she is now unable to work. She also has an impaired ability to take care of her young child.

Coffey sued Dr. Woo alleging negligence in that he chose not to obtain an informed consent. The lawsuit claimed that Dr. Woo had forced the liquid Onyx embolic agent into Coffey’s small aneurysm, causing the Onyx particles to escape the aneurysm and cause a stroke. Coffey also asserted that Dr. Woo decided not to advise her of the dangers of the surgery and safer available alternatives.
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In December 2015, the plaintiff, Michael Burke, who was then 73 years old, underwent a scheduled hernia repair at Northwestern Medicine-Kishwaukee Hospital in DeKalb, Ill.

After this hernia repair surgery, his blood pressure dropped and he complained of severe abdominal pain. Burke’s family asked the surgeon, Dr. Stephen Goldman, to look in on Burke, but Dr. Goldman allegedly said that he would not do so until he was finished with other patients.

At about 6 p.m. that same day, Dr. Goldman performed an exploratory surgery and found Burke’s abdomen was full of blood. An hour later, Burke’s wife noticed her husband had weakness on the left side of his face, he was unable to fully open his left eye, his lip was drooping and his speech was slurred.
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Bradley Metts, who was 9 years old at the time of this incident, was evaluated for severe ear pain by his primary care physician at University Medical Associates. Eight days after the evaluation, Bradley’s condition deteriorated; he developed headache, nausea, vomiting and photophobia. Bradley returned to the clinic where a nurse practitioner described him as being acutely ill.

The medical provider at the clinic ordered various STAT (immediate) blood tests, including an erythrocyte sedimentation rate test and a C-reactive protein test.

Although the lab samples were sent to Athens Medical Laboratory by the mid-afternoon, the results, which were markedly elevated, were not returned for six days.
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Keimoneia Redish was a 40-year-old mother of five who suffered from asthma. When she experienced breathing difficulties, her partner took her to a hospital emergency department. Testing there showed that her carbon dioxide level was above normal at 57 mmol/L and that her pH level was 7.28, which is below normal and indicated mild hypercapnia and acidosis. Hypercapnia is a condition of abnormally elevated carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the blood. Acidosis is a condition in the blood that causes the pH level to fall below the normal limit of 7.35.

Although steroids and other treatments over several hours were administered, Redish’s condition did not improve. She was admitted to the hospital’s intensive care unit, where an attending physician intubated her and placed her on a mechanical ventilator.

Her carbon dioxide level and pH remained stable but still out of range of normal. A pulmonologist later examined Redish and recommended that she continue the ventilator but also add Ketamine, which is a medication mainly used for starting and maintaining anesthesia. The pulmonologist indicated that if Redish’s condition did not improve, general anesthesia to relieve her bronchospasms would be recommended.
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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.
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Ms. Doe, 47 years old, suffered from multiple sclerosis and used a walker. After visiting an urgent care clinic, she became tired and tried to sit down on her walker. The walker flipped over and Ms. Doe hit her head on the pavement. A physician’s assistant at the clinic palpated the injury and stitched Ms. Doe’s wound before discharging her with verbal instructions.

Ms. Doe fell into a coma approximately five hours later. She was taken by ambulance to a hospital where testing revealed a skull fracture and intracranial hemorrhage with midline shift. Despite undergoing neurosurgery, Ms. Doe now suffers from severe cognitive issues and requires 24-hour-per-day care.

Ms. Doe sued the urgent care clinic, alleging that it chose not to transfer her to a hospital emergency room after the fall in light of her neurological symptoms, including one-sided weakness. The lawsuit also alleged that the urgent care clinic should have sent Ms. Doe home with written, not verbal instructions.
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Melanie Smith, 40, was taken to a hospital suffering from a severe headache, slurred speech, dizziness, right-sided weakness, and vomiting. These were all apparent signs of a stroke.

Two hours after she arrived at the hospital, an emergency physician, Dr. Antonio Baca, examined her, prescribed migraine medication and ordered a CT scan. The scan was negative for hemorrhagic stroke.

However, Smith’s symptoms continued over the next few hours. Dr. Baca ordered an MRI and consulted with a neurologist. The MRI showed that Smith had suffered an ischemic stroke. She was then transferred to another hospital where she underwent a craniotomy. A craniotomy is the serious surgical procedure in which the skull is perforated. A bone flap is temporarily removed from the skull to allow access to the brain by the neurosurgeons. A craniotomy is usually completed so that neurosurgeons can remove a brain tumor or an abnormal brain tissue.
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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.
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The Florida Supreme Court has held that the trial court committed reversible error by allowing testimony by deposition of a patient’s treating neurosurgeon. The doctor testified at trial about what he would have done had the patient arrived at the hospital 1-2 hours earlier.

Alexis Cantore, 12 years old at the time, suffered a brain herniation resulting from hydrocephalus. Alexis and her parents sued two hospitals claiming that her untimely transport to a higher-level hospital led to a delayed treatment and late brain surgery to attempt to release the pressure on the brain.

At the jury trial, over the plaintiff’s objections, the first hospital offered the deposition testimony of the pediatric neurosurgeon who operated on Alexis. The doctor answered hypothetical questions about how he would have treated Alexis had she arrived at the second hospital 1-2 hours earlier. The jury found in favor of the defendants.
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Susan Clifford was a 40-year-old Iraq war veteran who was admitted to Veterans Hospital suffering from shortness of breath and flu-like symptoms. Over the next week, she received respiratory therapy, nebulizer treatments and mask ventilation.

When the treating medical providers attempted to switch her from the ventilator mask to a nasal cannula, she suffered an acute bronchial spasm. She was intubated approximately 44 minutes later but suffered oxygen deprivation, which resulted in permanent brain damage, blindness and quadriparesis.

Clifford sued the United States (Veteran’s Administration) alleging that its medical providers chose not to properly respond to acute respiratory distress and timely restore her airway. The lawsuit did not claim lost income or medical expenses.
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