Sommers Schwartz attorneys Judith A. Susskind and Dina M. Zalewski secured a $4.6 million medical malpractice settlement on behalf of a 29-year-old man who suffered a major stroke with permanent and severe neurological deficits after defendants failed to diagnose and treat carotid artery dissection and occlusion.
The patient’s medical history included a head injury several years prior. He presented to the emergency room complaining of exercise-induced onset of dizziness, left-sided headache, confusion, some visual disturbance, and right upper extremity numbness. He underwent lab tests and a CT scan of his head and cervical spine.
Stroke protocols were not properly or timely instituted despite the patient exhibiting signs and symptoms of a stroke/carotid artery dissection. No neurology consult was ordered. Instead, the patient was diagnosed with a migraine and given a “cocktail” of medication. He began to vomit and was given a second dose of medication. Despite being disoriented and unable to walk or speak normally, he was discharged.
A few hours later, his family members brought him back to the ER with worsening symptoms. Various tests were performed, including another CT scan, and a different ER physician diagnosed the patient with a stroke. He was transferred to a hospital with the resources to manage and treat his condition. However, too much time had passed; he was no longer a candidate for any surgical intervention that could prevent extensive brain damage and permanent impairment.
The patient subsequently underwent numerous surgical procedures, rehabilitation, and therapies but continues to suffer severe, permanent impairments. He struggles to speak and walk and is unable to perform any activities of normal life independently. He cannot work or earn an income and will require daily assistance and care, 24/7, for the rest of his life. Had he been diagnosed and treated promptly, he would likely have made a full recovery.
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