According to the allegations, the plaintiff, then 52 years old, went to the emergency room of the defendant hospital complaining of what he described as the worst headache of his life. Given the patient’s presentation and family history (his mother died of an aneurysm rupture), the ER physician suspected an aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage and ordered a non-contrast head CT to rule out a brain bleed and other abnormalities.
The defendant radiologist on duty was responsible for reading all CT scans and other imaging studies for the hospital that evening. When reviewing the plaintiff’s scans, he radiologist misinterpreted the brain CT and failed to recognize the subarachnoid hemorrhage. Instead, he reported that the scan was “negative for blood or other abnormality.”
Meanwhile, the plaintiff received medication that resolved his headache, and after hearing the results of the scan, he advised the ER doctor he was ready to go home. Because CT scans sometimes do not detect subtle or small amounts of blood on the brain, the ER physician recommended a lumbar puncture to further rule out subarachnoid hemorrhage. The plaintiff declined the lumbar puncture and any further testing, choosing to leave the hospital against medical advice.
While at home nine days later, the plaintiff suffered a rupture of the undiagnosed brain aneurysm with massive intracranial hemorrhage. Although he was fortunate to survive the event, he has not been able to return to any meaningful employment. He will need assistance and supervision with many daily living activities due to significant neurological damage.
The medical malpractice lawsuit claimed that had the defendant radiologist correctly interpreted the subarachnoid hemorrhage on the CT scan, he would have timely diagnosed the brain aneurysm, and prompt intervention would have prevented the rupture, massive bleed, and neurological damages.