Articles Posted in Brain Injury

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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Esmeralda Tripp, 42, suffered from atrial fibrillation (AFib) and was on Coumadin to manage her condition. While on this medicine, she experienced 17 instances of high INR (International Normalized Ratio). INR is a standardized number that is calculated in a laboratory. If a patient takes blood thinners, the INR is particularly important. INR is actually the timing mechanism for clotting. The prothrombin time, along with its derived measures of prothrombin ratio and international normalized ratio, are all used in evaluating the pathway of coagulation or blood clotting.

After the report of high INR, doctors prescribed Vitamin K, fresh frozen plasma or a discontinuation of the Coumadin.
After again understanding that she had high INR, Tripp went to the University of Arizona Medical Center. A resident physician, Dr. Olga Gokova, and her supervising physician suggested that Tripp take Profilnine, a prothrombotic.

Two hours after receiving an injection of the Profilnine, Tripp suffered a heart attack resulting from a blood clot in her coronary arteries. The blood clot caused her to experience oxygen deprivation, which led to profound brain damage. Today, she remains in a minimally conscious state.
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A lawsuit arising from the death of Jeannette Turner first resulted in a jury verdict of $22.1 million in this medical malpractice and wrongful death lawsuit. Sadly, Turner died the night before the jury’s verdict. According to the report of this Illinois Appellate Court case, her death transformed her medical malpractice lawsuit into a survival claim for Joi Jefferson, Turner’s daughter and the special representative of her estate.

As a result, Jefferson was unable to recover compensation that was awarded for any future injuries Turner would have suffered.

“Compensatory tort damages are intended to compensate plaintiffs, not to punish defendants,” Justice Mary Anne Mason wrote in the 23-page opinion. “We would run afoul of this principle if we allowed Jeannette’s estate to collect an award for future injuries Jeannette will no longer suffer. For this reason, we limit plaintiff’s recovery to compensation for injuries Jeannette suffered prior to her death.”
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