On November 15, 2012, a New Hampshire medical malpractice jury returned its verdict in the amount of $5 million against a radiologist who allegedly misread a CT scan that resulted in the patient suffering more severe effects from a stroke. The medical malpractice case took two weeks to try and the jury deliberated for three hours before rendering its $5 million verdict in favor of the woman who suffered the stroke and her husband, who would experience a high-risk pregnancy if they decide to have children.
The couple’s ordeal began on August 9, 2007, when the woman experienced a severe and lasting headache for which she sought treatment in a hospital emergency room. While at the hospital, the woman began showing signs of neurological problems including slurred speech. A CT scan was ordered and interpreted by the radiologist at the hospital who was employed by an outside radiology group. The radiologist’s report of the results of the CT scan stated, “There is no evidence of acute hemorrhage, mass lesion, mass effect, acute ischemia, or extraaxial fluid collections” and that some abnormalities found were “of doubtful clinical significance.”
The woman’s condition detriorated over the course of the next several hours while she was in the hospital and she was subsequently tranported by helicopter to another hospital, where a second CT scan was performed and read as showing “bilateral intracranial hemorrhages with extension into subarachnoids from the superior sagittal sinus caused by thrombosis or stroke,” according to the medical malpractice lawsuit.
The woman had to undergo brain surgery to treat her stroke. She continues to need extensive rehabilitative therapy and services including having to re-learn how to take care of her activities of daily living. The medical malpractice claim alleged that the first CT scan was misread and that a neurologist who later reviewed the first CT scan noted significant abnormalities that, if recognized and diagnosed earlier, would have led to sooner appropriate medical treatment that would have lessened the effects of the woman’s stroke.
According to the woman’s medical malpractice attorney, the first radiologist attempted to deflect some of the blame away from herself by claiming that she (the radiologist) had expressed concern about the CT scan results to emergency department personnel at the hospital who failed to act in response.
This New Hampshire medical malpractice case is a prime example of how patients in hospitals must rely on many different people providing them the necessary care, tests, and treatments, and that if any one of them fails to provide care consistent with the applicable standard of care, the patient can sustain irreparable permanent injuries, or worse, that could have and should have been avoided if all care givers did what they were required to do.
If you may have become the victim of medical negligence as a result of treatment in a hospital, it is important that you promptly seek legal advice from a local medical malpractice attorney regarding your possible medical malpractice claim.
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