Woman Paralyzed by Unnecessary Surgery Gets $22M Verdict

On behalf of Brown & Crouppen, P.C. posted in Medical Malpractice on Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Most readers would agree that it is bad enough when a doctor or other medical professional in St. Louis harms a patient through negligent treatment. But when the procedure was not even necessary in the first place, the resulting injuries are a sad irony the patient may have to live with the rest of his or her life.

In a recent example of misdiagnosis leading to permanent injury, a woman who suffered a stroke during a brain scan was awarded a $22 million verdict in her medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital where her former doctor worked. The stroke caused the woman to become quadriplegic and dependant on nursing care for the rest of her life.

The woman had gone to a medical clinic for treatment of migraine headaches. Her doctor decided that an abnormal vein in her brain could have been responsible and ordered an angiogram, a test that required a dye to be injected into the blood vessels near the vein.

But the injection caused the woman to suffer a vasospasm, or a narrowing of a blood vessel, in her brain. She fell into a coma that lasted two weeks. When she awoke, she was relieved to be alive, but could not move her arms or legs. She later learned that the vein the angiogram was supposed to examine was not related to her migraines, meaning the test that injured her so badly was not necessary.

The woman sued the clinic and the hospital where the test was performed. She settled with the hospital shortly after the trial began on Feb. 21, but the clinic refused to admit liability. After trial concluded, the jury found that the clinic’s staff was negligently responsible for the woman’s paralysis and awarded her $22 million in damages.

Though the amount of the verdict will likely go down due to a state cap on certain malpractice damages, the verdict will go to paying for her medical care and lost future wages.

Source: San Jose Mercury News, “Menlo Park woman receives $22 million medical malpractice verdict,” Jason Green, March 21, 2012

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