Sommers Schwartz attorney Kenneth Watkins secured a confidential $4.25 million settlement for a 35-year-old plaintiff whose severe brain injury was not timely diagnosed. As a result, the man suffered permanent disability and filed a lawsuit against the hospital and professional negligent emergency room physician.
The plaintiff presented to the ER at the defendant hospital complaining of the “worst ever” headache, vomiting, and dizziness. A CT scan showed a 2.5 x 2.2 cm intraventricular mass and fluid buildup in the brain (obstructive hydrocephalus).
Both the physicians involved in the plaintiff’s treatment and the parties’ experts agreed that a patient presenting with the plaintiff’s signs, symptoms, and CT results required an immediate neurosurgical consultation and evaluation. Although the defendant ER doctor contacted the neurosurgeon on call, he failed to inform him of the complete CT results, including the presence of the obstructive hydrocephalus.
The neurosurgeon testified that he was only advised of a ventricular mass and presenting headache, and had he been advised of the hydrocephalus, he would have come in immediately to evaluate the patient and admit him to the ICU for constant monitoring. Instead, five and one-half hours lapsed before the neurosurgeon learned of the obstructive hydrocephalus. Meanwhile, the plaintiff suffered increased intracranial pressure leading to intracranial herniation. He was later diagnosed with large ischemic infarctions within the bilateral occipital and temporal lobes of his brain.
Because of the delay in treatment and the deterioration of his condition, the plaintiff is now permanently disabled and requires 24-hour care. His deficits include vision loss, severely impaired short-term memory, mildly impaired long-term memory, overall impaired judgment, word retrieval problems, balance problems, and impulsive disorder.
The lawsuit sought damages for both economic and non-economic loss caused by the defendants’ various acts of medical malpractice.