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Court awards medical malpractice settlement for stroke misdiagnosis

Most often when people think about medical malpractice, doctor's errors come to mind. People tend to associate medication errors and surgical errors with medical malpractice. A type of medical malpractice that the public in Michigan might be less aware of is misdiagnosis.

Determining whether a misdiagnosis that led to injury or death amounts to malpractice is quite complicated. This is because in some cases a medical professional might truly misdiagnose a disease to no fault of his or her own. In other cases, however, a misdiagnosis might be caused by incompetence, failure to uphold the standards of the medical profession, or another type of negligence. In a recent case out east, a couple has been awarded $5 million in a medical malpractice case involving a misdiagnosis.

This lawsuit involved a woman who went to a hospital's emergency room in 2007 after suffering a severe and prolonged headache. In the emergency room, she began experiencing neurological effects and slurred speech.

She was given a CT scan by a radiologist at the hospital, who interpreted the results and reported no evidence of major issues. The radiologist stated that there were a few abnormalities, but nothing significant, according to the lawsuit.

The woman's condition continued to worsen while she was at the hospital and she was eventually flown my medical helicopter to another hospital where another CT scan was administered, revealing that she had suffered a stroke or thrombosis. She then underwent brain surgery.

Because the first radiologist misinterpreted the CT scan, the woman's treatment was delayed, causing her to have severe and ongoing symptoms, the lawsuit claimed.

The court awarded the woman a $5 million settlement after finding the radiologist failed to meet the standard of care by misreading the CT scan and failing to communicate with the other care providers who were involved.

The radiologist had argued that she did communicate concerns about the CT scan, but emergency personnel failed to act upon them.

Source: Seacoast Online, "Couple awarded $5m in medical malpractice suit," Aaron Sanborn, Nov. 20, 2012

  • Our Ann Arbor law firm handles cases like the one discussed here. More information about misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis is available on our Michigan Medical Malpractice page.

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