Articles Posted in Brain Injury

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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Rebecca Gaither was transported by ambulance to West Suburban Hospital in Oak Park, Ill., on Nov. 27, 2012 with complaints of rear lower head pain and vision loss in her right eye. At the emergency room, she complained of a sudden onset of neck pain with an immediate episode of seeing stars in her right eye.

The triage nurse assessed her blood pressure as elevated and assigned her to the next available treatment bed. During examination by an emergency department doctor, Gaither, who was just 47 years old at the time, reported a sudden onset of lost bilateral vision and sharp neck pain while she was reaching for a phone. Following a normal neurological exam, the ER doctor ordered CT scans of the head and neck with and without contrast, for a suspected dissection of the left vertebral artery.

However, Gaither collapsed and became unresponsive before the scans were done. She was immediately transferred from West Suburban Medical to Loyola Medical Center in Maywood, Ill., where a CT angiogram showed a ruptured 1.6-centimeter aneurysm in the right ophthalmic artery, left vertebral artery dissection with arteriovenous fistula and extensive severe fibromuscular dysplasia.
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Emilee Williams, a 21-year-old student, consulted an internist at Mercy Clinic Springfield Communities when she experienced tremors, balance and concentration problems, insomnia and panic attacks. She was diagnosed as having fatigue and depression and was prescribed medication.

Almost five months later, she returned to the clinic in a deteriorated condition and was re-diagnosed with simple anxiety.
The next month, when her symptoms worsened, Williams underwent an MRI that showed severe brain damage resulting from Wilson’s disease, a rare genetic inherited disorder in which excessive amounts of copper accumulate in the body, particularly in the liver, brain and eyes. Despite treatment, she still suffers from the effects of her brain injury, which affects her speaking and ability to walk among other deficits.

Williams sued Mercy Clinic Springfield alleging vicarious liability for the physician’s choosing not to timely diagnose Wilson’s disease and including her neurological condition on her differential diagnosis.
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Dr. Terry Polt was 61 years old when she underwent an embolization procedure to treat her chronic nosebleeds.

An embolization procedure involves the selected occlusion of blood vessels by purposely introducing clots to a blood vessel. Embolization is generally used to treat a wide variety of conditions affecting different organs of the human body. In this case, the attempt was to cure chronic nosebleeds.

After the embolization procedure, Dr. Polt, a family practice physician, suffered an embolic stroke resulting in difficulties with executive function and attention. Dr. Polt was earning $150,000 annually and is now unable to work.
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A neuropathologist, Dr. Meena Gujrati, and her employer, Central Illinois Pathology, were named as defendants in a medical-malpractice lawsuit brought by Rebecca Gapinski who alleged that this doctor misdiagnosed Daniel Gapinski’s brain tumor as being benign.

Right before the start of the jury trial, Dr. Gujrati requested permission to proceed with a substitution of counsel. The attorneys for the Gapinski family objected, arguing that the motion was tardy because the case had been pending for three years. However, the Gapinski family accepted a compromise, and the trial judge ruled that the defendants could have separate counsel, separate pleadings and separate experts if they were otherwise barred from double-teaming at trial.

The verdict for Gapinski was $1,727,409. On appeal, Dr. Gujrati and Central Illinois Pathology argued, among other things, that the judge erred in barring “dual representation.”
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