Medical Malpractice ­ Failure To Diagnose Subarachnoid Hemorrhage $850,000

Failure To Diagnose Subarachnoid Hemorrhage $850,000
Injuries alleged:
Court: Withheld
Amount of settlement: $850,000

Case Summary:
The 31-year-old plaintiff went to a Massachusetts emergency room complaining of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, and neck tightness and with a history of 'prior intracranial surgery.'
An EKG, chest X-ray and CBC were ordered, which allegedly revealed an abnormal electrocardiogram, an abnormal white blood count and an elevated blood pressure. The emergency room physician ordered Tigan and the plaintiff was discharged with a diagnosis of 'viral syndrome/anxiety.' Later that day, the plaintiff returned to his home in Vermont.

Four days later, the plaintiff went to a Vermont hospital with right-sided weakness and expressive aphasia. A lumbar puncture demonstrated red blood cells with xanthochromia, and the patient was diagnosed as having had a recent subarachnoid hemorrhage. He was transferred to another hospital in Vermont and several days later was diagnosed with having had a cerebral infarct.
The plaintiff was prepared to present expert testimony that the defendant Massachusetts emergency room physician was negligent in failing to order a CT scan or perform a lumbar puncture to rule out any viral process.

The plaintiff was also prepared to present neurosurgical testimony that had the plaintiff been timely diagnosed, he would have avoided the subsequent brain injury.
The defendant's experts were prepared to testify that the emergency room physician did not depart from standards of care in as much as the presenting history was consistent with a viral syndrome, which the doctor diagnosed. Additionally, the physician had asked the plaintiff to return if the condition worsened.

The defendant's neurosurgical expert was prepared to testify that the plaintiff's harm was not caused by any departures from standards of care.