Delayed Treatment of Stroke Leads to DuPage County Woman’s Death – Medina v. Echiverri, M.D., et al

In order to achieve the best possible outcome following a stroke, doctors and medical staff must identify the emergency situation and react quickly. Medicines aimed at breaking up blood clots that may have caused a thrombotic stroke have been found to increase survival rates and lessen the likelihood of permanent disability. However, these medicines must be administered within three hours of the stroke occurring, which makes an immediate response by emergency room physicians even more important.

In Chris Medina v. Henry C. Echiverri, M.D., et al., No. 07-L-000820, the emergency room errors led to the eventual death of a young stroke victim. The 24 year-old mother presented to Central DuPage Hospital’s emergency room complaining of sudden headaches, numbness to her right side, and problems speaking. However, despite the fairly obvious signs of a stroke, there were serious emergency room errors made and the correct diagnosis was not made for over 12 hours.

The decedent’s medical status was evaluated by Dr. Echiverri, a member of the hospital’s stroke team. However, despite specializing in stroke victims, Dr. Echiverri failed to diagnose and treat Medina’s stroke. Instead her condition was diagnosed by a neuroradiologist. But by the time the decedent’s stroke was diagnosed she was already significantly neurologically impaired and slipping into a coma. She died just 17 days after presenting to the emergency room.

The defense alleged that Dr. Echiverri failed to make the correct diagnosis because he was relying on an incorrectly interpreted MRI. However, according to the plaintiff’s attorney this defense was not sustainable; plaintiff’s attorneys argued that Dr. Echiverri should have been begun to initiate stroke medication even if he had believed her MRI to be normal because the signs and symptoms of her stroke were so obvious that there was nothing else that could be causing her symptoms.

Medina presented with two of the Mayo Clinic’s five main symptoms of stroke, including headaches, difficulty speaking, and partial body numbness. And while the involvement of Dr. Echiverri and the stroke team indicates that the hospital recognized the potential for a stroke, this becomes a moot point given that they did nothing to treat the stroke for over 24 hours.

As a result of the Illinois hospital’s medical negligence, the 24 year-old died. She was survived by her husband and a young son.
Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Illinois wrongful death lawsuits for over 30 years, serving those areas in and around Cook County, including Chicago, Wilmette, Westmont, and Oak Forest.

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