On November 26, 2019, an Erie, Pennsylvania medical malpractice jury returned its verdict in the amount of $1.25 million against a primary care physician and his medical practice whom the jury found to have been negligent in failing to investigate the cause of a 45-year-old woman’s persistent headaches, thereby leading to her fatal brain hemmorhage one month later.
The woman had gone to her doctor in February 2010, complaining of headaches. She was seen by a resident under the supervision of her doctor, who diagnosed the cause of her headaches as being her intake of caffeine. The doctor agreed with the resident’s assessment and therefore did not order any further medical testing.
On March 16, 2010, the woman’s husband found her unresponsive at home. She was found to have suffered a massive brain hemmorhage and she never regained consciousness. She died on March 19, 2010. The Pennsylvania medical malpractivce complaint alleged that the woman’s hemmorhage was caused by an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) that should have been diagnosed earlier if her doctor had timely ordered appropriate imaging.
The defendants have requested that the trial judge vacate the jury’s award and grant a new trial. The jury had voted 11 to 1 to award $1.25 million to the woman’s estate. The plaintiff is seeking an additional $355,000 in delay damages (the Pennsylvania medical malpractice complaint was filed in March 2012).
Brain Arteriovenous Malformation
According to the Mayo Clinic, a brain arteriovenous malformation is a tangle of abnormal blood vessels connecting arteries and veins in the brain. An arteriovenous malformation can develop anywhere in your body but occurs most often in the brain or spine. Brain AVMs are rare and affect less than 1 percent of the population. AVMs are more common in males.
The cause of AVMs is not clear. Most people are born with them but they can occasionally form later in life. They are rarely passed down among families genetically.
Some people with brain AVMs experience signs and symptoms, such as headache or seizures. AVMs are commonly found after a brain scan for another health issue or after the blood vessels rupture and cause bleeding in the brain (hemorrhage).
Once diagnosed, a brain AVM can often be treated successfully to prevent complications, such as brain damage or stroke.
The Mayo Clinic warns: “Seek immediate medical attention if you notice any signs or symptoms of a brain AVM, such as seizures, headaches or other symptoms. A bleeding brain AVM is life-threatening and requires emergency medical attention.”
If you or a loved one have suffered serious harm as a result of medical negligence in Pennsylvania or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find a Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorney, or a medical malpractice attorney in your state, who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you or your loved one in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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