On April 15, 2015, a Pennsylvania medical malpractice jury awarded a Pennsylvania man $7.4 million after less than five hours of deliberations, for the serious stroke and resulting permanent injuries he suffered, allegedly as a result of the medical negligence of his primary care physician in failing to timely and appropriately treat his high blood pressure.
The Alleged Underlying Facts
The plaintiff was 56-years-old when he went to his primary care physician on May 14, 2010, having experienced dizziness, confusion, and numbness shortly before the visit. At that time, the physician found that the man’s blood pressure was 200/80 (the physician had been the man’s primary care physician since 1995 – during a visit to the physician’s office in October 2008, the man’s blood pressure was recorded as 220/90; on April 16, 2010, his blood pressure was recorded as 184/94, at which time he was prescribed the blood pressure medication Lisinopril and was told to return to the physician’s office in four weeks).
Despite his high blood pressure reading during the May 14, 2010 visit, his recent symptoms, and his risk factors for stroke (his age, history of high cholesterol, history of diabetes, history of smoking, and his slight obesity), the physician sent the man home with a prescription for Lisinopril and Norvasc, and he was told to return to his physician four weeks later.
On May 16, 2010, the man was transported to the local hospital where his blood pressure was found to be 280/150. He was diagnosed with blocked cerebral arteries and suffered a serious stroke that has left him in a wheelchair and with upper extremity weakness for the rest of his life.
The man’s Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawsuit alleged that his primary care physician breached the standard of care on May 14, 2010 by failing to conduct appropriate diagnostic testing in light of his blood pressure reading at that time and his known risk factors for a stroke, and by failing to immediately admit the man to the hospital for work-up of his symptoms and for appropriate treatment.
The defendant primary care physician argued that he appropriately treated the man’s high blood pressure with medication, that the man had not expressed to him the symptoms of confusion, dizziness, and numbness that he had experienced prior to the May 14, 2010 in-office visit, and that he had not deviated from the applicable standard of care in the treatment of his patient.
The Pennsylvania medical malpractice jury determined that both the physician and the patient were negligent, but assigned the defendant physician with 61% of the blame for the man’s stroke and permanent injuries. The jury’s award of compensatory damages included $350,000 for future loss of earnings, $2.6 million for future medical expenses, $3.5 million in other damages, and $950,000 for his late-wife’s loss of consortium claim.
If you or a loved one were injured (or worse) due to medical negligence in Pennsylvania or elsewhere in the United States, you should promptly seek the legal advice of a local medical malpractice attorney in Pennsylvania or in your U.S. state who may investigate your medical negligence claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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