Articles Posted in Neurology Errors

Ms. Doe was in her late 30s and suffered from multiple symptoms, including headaches. She consulted Dr. Roe, a neurologist, who performed a clinical examination. Dr. Roe diagnosed Ms. Doe as having multiple sclerosis (MS).

For approximately the next seven years, Ms. Doe underwent chemotherapy treatment and took numerous medications, resulting in complications that included pulmonary embolism, infertility, and a compromised immune system. Now hospitalized for a sleep study, a medical provider told Ms. Doe that she did not have MS and never had the condition.

Doe sued Dr. Roe, the neurologist, alleging that he misdiagnosed her migraine condition as MS. Among other things, Doe argued that Dr. Roe chose not to confirm the diagnosis through a brain MRI and that previous imaging studies showed no evidence of lesions on her spine or brain.
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Joseph Barsuli, 49, was experiencing aches and left-sided neck pain. The doctor who examined him diagnosed a virus. He then developed numbness in his finger and arm, prompting his admission to a hospital.

At the hospital, a neurologist ordered a CT scan of the cervical spine, which was read by a radiologist, Dr. Wayne Liou, an employee of Virtual Radiological Corp. Dr. Liou interpreted the test as normal; however, the next day, another local radiologist reviewed the film and diagnosed a cervical epidural abscess.

A spinal epidural abscess is an accumulation of pus in the epidural space that can compress the spinal cord. The diagnosis of this is by MRI or by myelography followed by a CT scan. Treatment involves antibiotics and sometimes the drainage of the abscess. The symptoms of this condition are pain, fever and neurologic deficits.
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Melina Greer, 25, went to a hospital emergency room complaining of a severe headache, neck pain and decreased and blurred vision. She received a neurological consultation from neurology resident, Dr. Basad Essa, who noted that she was having difficulty performing an optic fundus examination.

An emergency physician later discharged Greer with a diagnosis of a complex migraine.
Two days later, she returned to the hospital with complete vision loss. A lumbar puncture led to a diagnosis of idiopathic intracranial hypertension.

Greer sued neurologist Dr. Ruggero Serafini, whom she claimed had consulted on her case during the first hospital visit, alleging he chose not to timely diagnose intracranial hypertension. It was alleged had she undergone a simple fundus examination and lumbar puncture, Greer asserted she could have been timely treated with acetazolamide and an LP (lumbar peritoneal) shunt and avoided additional vision loss.
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Dolores Madigan, 71, had a seizure disorder. She took the anticonvulsant medications Keppra and Dilantin daily.

When she was admitted to Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center, she was suffering from an eye infection. Internal medicine physician Dr. Jayeshkumar Makavana ordered swallow testing to rule out a stroke. Although Dr. Makavana discontinued Madigan’s medication, a neurologist later reinstated the anticonvulsants.

The next night, a nurse alerted Dr. Makavana that Madigan had not been receiving her medicine. The nurse then administered a small inadequate dose of medication in line with Dr. Makavana’s instructions.
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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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A chest X-ray of Marilyn Day, 76, revealed a suspicious lung mass several weeks after she had been admitted to Firelands Regional Medical Center. She was suffering from leg weakness, confusion and disorientation when she was admitted. A repeat X-ray showed the mass had shrunk.

An MRI of the brain revealed multiple ring-enhancing lesions with restricted diffusion, consistent with a brain abscess or metastatic cancer. Neurologist Dr. Jean Barylski Danner examined Day and reviewed the MRI. She told Day’s family that she was likely suffering from metastatic brain cancer.

Testing for lung cancer was negative. After an infectious disease consultation, and a week after Day’s consultation with Dr. Barylski Danner, she was administered antibiotics to treat a brain abscess. A neurosurgeon performed an aspiration procedure.
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A  Springfield, Mo., jury signed a verdict for $28.9 million for a 24-year-old woman who sustained a devastating brain injury caused by a rare copper disorder. The lawsuit, brought in Greene County, Mo., claimed that a local hospital’s medical staff chose not to correctly diagnose and treat Emilee Williams’ symptoms. In fact, it was alleged that the hospital took the position that it did not need to do a full and complete neurological exam even though Williams presented to the hospital with symptoms. The hospital dismissed her symptoms as anxiety.

It was in December 2012 that Williams presented to the hospital. She was examined by Dr. Elene Pilapil with complaints of fatigue, tremors, balance issues, insomnia, difficulty concentrating, crying spells and anxiety. Dr. Pilapil diagnosed Williams with anxiety and did not consider ordering more diagnostic testing. A prescription for Prozac was written and Williams was sent home. Eight months later, not until August 2013, was an MRI finally ordered that showed that Williams was brain damaged, caused by the previously undiagnosed Wilson’s disease. This was done only after Emilee and her mother continued to complain to the doctor that Emilee had something much more significant happening to her than just anxiety.

As it was proved at trial, Williams had undiagnosed Wilson’s disease. This disease, although rare, causes too much copper to accumulate in the liver, brain and other vital organs, which was the cause of her devastating permanent injuries. Williams was a former high school student and athlete, but today is limited from paralysis, motor and speech impairment and must be fed through a tube in her stomach.
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Nakeyia McMichael, a 33-year-old nurse, was hospitalized for treatment for a cerebral edema. Just 18 months later she returned to the hospital’s emergency room complaining of head pain, nausea and vomiting.

Two hospital emergency department residents and the defendant, Dr. John Pakiela, an osteopath employed by General Emergency Medical Specialists, diagnosed her with a migraine headache and discharged her with medicine. The very next day, she became unresponsive and died. The cause was determined to be brain herniation resulting from the cerebral edema or brain swell. McMichael was survived by her husband and three minor children.

The McMichael family sued Dr. Pakiela and his employer alleging that he failed to refer her to a neurologist for further workup. The McMichael family claimed that in light of her medical history, Dr. Pakiela should have reviewed her medical records before discharging her and should have considered cerebral edema as a possible cause of her renewed symptoms. The doctor should have ruled out the most deadly and dangerous of illnesses or conditions.

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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Angelica Heavner, 41, went to the hospital emergency room for treatment of jaw and head pain. A hospital employee placed an IV into Heavner’s metacarpal vein on her right hand. The insertion of the IV caused her to develop a blister at that site, plus burning and stinging pain.

The IV was not removed immediately. Heavner developed complications and was later diagnosed with having complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) of the right hand, which necessitated medication and a spinal cord stimulator. CRPS, or reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome, causes chronic pain in patients who have contracted it. The cause of CRPS is varied. In some cases, the cause of CRPS is the dysfunction in the central or peripheral nervous system.

Heavner filed a lawsuit against the hospital, alleging its employee negligently inserted the IV, which resulted in nerve contact and thus was the cause of the CRPS. The lawsuit also maintained that the defendant’s failure to promptly identify the problem and remove the IV led to the chronic pain syndrome. There was no claim for lost income.

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