Articles Posted in Misdiagnosing Stroke

Dennis Davis, an Illinois prisoner suffering from kidney disease, received dialysis on a Saturday. He later told the prison nurse that his mind was fuzzy and his body was weak. Both of these complaints were similar to other side effects he had experienced in the past after dialysis treatment. The nurse called Dr. Francis Kayira, the prison’s medical director, who asked her whether Davis had asymmetrical grip strength, facial droop, or drooling. These are classic signs of a stroke.

When the nurse said “no,” Dr. Kayira determined that Davis was experiencing the same dialysis-related side effects as before rather than something more serious.

Dr. Kayira told the nurse to monitor Davis and call him if the symptoms worsened. Dr. Kayira did not hear anything for the rest of the weekend. On the following Monday morning, Dr. Kayira examined Davis and discovered that Davis in fact had suffered a stroke.
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Paul Chicoine was 47 years old when he experienced nausea, vomiting and extreme dizziness as he was painting a ceiling. He then developed left-sided numbness, weakness, and slurred speech.

He was taken by ambulance to a hospital where he was given medication. An emergency physician, Dr. Michael Mendola, ordered blood tests and a CT scan of the head. The finding from the CT scan was negative except for a note about a sinus inflammation. Chicoine was then discharged with the diagnosis of vertigo and sinusitis.

Eight days after discharge, he suffered a stroke. After extensive rehabilitation over eight months, he returned to his job as a court officer. He has been unable to continue working due to his deficits, which included vision impairment and limited use of his left hand, which were the result of the stroke.
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Latosha Evans, 17, a heart transplant recipient, went to Children’s Hospital to undergo a cardiac catheterization to correct a fractured stent in her ascending aorta.

After this procedure, which lasted approximately three hours, Latosha was transferred to the facility’s post-anesthesia care unit. A report from a neurology consultation allegedly wrote in the chart that Latosha had possible right hemiparesis; however, neither the attending nursing nor medical staff initiated a stroke protocol or requested a complete neurological assessment.

Hemiparesis is a partial weakness on one side of the body. It can affect either the left or right side of the body. The weakness can involve the arms, hands, legs, face or a combination of all. Almost 80% of stroke survivors experience hemiparesis, making it one of the most common effects of a stroke.
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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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Graciela Gomez McCallum was diagnosed as having cardiomyopathy and atrial fibrillation for which she was prescribed Coumadin therapy and placed with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). She was in her mid-70s when she consulted with a cardiac electrophysiologist, Dr. Peter Garcia, and cardiologist Dr. Jose Marquez, who managed her cardiac care.

Approximately five years after Gomez McCallum began the Coumadin treatment, Dr. Marquez discontinued it. Several months later Gomez McCallum suffered a stroke that left her with left-sided paralysis and cognitive difficulties. She now requires care 24 hours a day.

She sued Dr. Marquez and his employer as well as Dr. Garcia alleging negligent discontinuation of Coumadin. The lawsuit alleged that Dr. Marquez had discontinued the blood thinner despite the patient’s history of chronic atrial fibrillation, chose not to confirm that she was no longer experiencing atrial fibrillation by evaluating her ICD downloads, and failed to consult with Dr. Garcia concerning his findings and recommendations.
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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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Mark Brown was a 39-year-old high school wrestling coach who began experiencing dizziness, neck pain, blurred vision and nausea while at a wrestling practice. He went to a local hospital, and paramedics transferred him to Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center where he was given a CT scan without contrast as part of a stroke workup.

The next day, Brown was discharged with a diagnosis of benign positional vertigo.

On the way home from the hospital, he suffered a massive stroke that caused severe brain damage. As a result, he lost vision and experienced difficulties with walking and speaking, among other problems. Brown now requires 24-hour-a-day care.
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Kristine Haveman, 38, collapsed at home and was brought to a nearby hospital in an unresponsive condition. The emergency room personnel examined her and ordered a CT scan. Doctors interpreted the scans as normal. That evening a neurologist diagnosed a thrombus in the left cerebral artery, which necessitated thrombolytic therapy.

Because of the delay in diagnosis and treatment, she suffered cognitive deficits resulting in problems with speech and word retrieval. She also has experienced fatigue and right-sided weakness. She had been a teacher who planned to return to work but is now unable to do so.

Haven filed a lawsuit against Dr. Kenneth Dirk, an emergency room physician and his employer, Oregon Emergency Physicians, claiming that these defendants’ negligence was the cause of an eight-hour delay in administering thrombolytic medication.The lawsuit claimed that the CT scan had been misinterpreted and that Haveman was wrongfully treated with Ativan for anxiety and emotional problems before the neurologist’s stroke diagnosis.
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A Will County jury has found that a stroke suffered by the son of Kathy Nakamura was not preventable by anticoagulant treatment by his physicians. In this medical-malpractice lawsuit, it was alleged that several physicians chose not to treat the medical conditions of Kathy Nakamura’s son, Joseph Welsh, which led to his suffering two strokes in five months. He was left with severe mental deficiencies after the second stroke in April 2009.

Welsh was admitted to Edward Hospital in Naperville, Ill., in November 2008. He was seen by neurologist Konstantine Dzamashvili, M.D. and Rizwan Bajwa, M.D. after he suffered a stroke caused by a blood clot in his brain. Welsh had a history of smoking and hypertension and cholesterol issues. The doctors believe that the blood clot came from somewhere in his neck or his brain stem. They tested Welsh for atherosclerotic heart disease; the test came back negative. When imaging tests were done, it showed that Welsh had a membrane open between the right and left sides of his heart.

Welsh was also tested for Factor V Leiden thrombophilia, which is a hereditary disorder that can increase the risk of blood clots in the veins.

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