$175,000: Doctor’s Negligence Allows Patient To Linger Three Days After Stroke Without Treatment

CASE DESCRIPTION:  This is an action for medical malpractice arising from a failure to diagnose and treat stroke symptoms which resulted in right sided hemiplegia, with loss of speech.  The Plaintiff brought suit against the Hospital Doctor.

RESULT:  $175,000.00 total settlement

On December 11, 1995, Plaintiff experienced weakness on her right side, particularly her leg.  Plaintiff had previously had a mild stroke which affected her left side in May, 1994.  Her family physician at that time, John Doe, M.D., had ordered her to be hospitalized and treated at Hoag Hospital.  She made a good recovery from that stroke, regaining full use of her faculties and returning to her prior activities.

Because of concerns that Plaintiff may have experienced another stroke that morning, a friend of Plaintiff’s called Dr. Doe’s office at approximately 8:30 a.m.  He stated that Dr. Doe returned his call at approximately 9:00 – 9:30 a.m. and they discussed the events of Plaintiff’s condition.  Dr. Doe stated that Plaintiff had probably had another stroke.  He then advised the friend that Plaintiff should be scheduled for an outpatient MRI, to be performed at 3:30 p.m. that day at Newport Imaging Center.  Neither the Plaintiff nor her friend was contacted regarding the results of the MRI.

Plaintiff’s friend called the doctor’s office on December 12, 1995.  He was told that Dr. Doe had not received the report regarding the MRI, but would call after reviewing the report.  Plaintiff’s friend called the doctor’s office again on December 13, 1995, and was told the office was closed.

No one called Plaintiff or her friend to follow up, schedule her for an examination or doing anything to diagnose or treat her condition.  On the morning of December 14, 1995, Plaintiff’s condition deteriorated.  She was transported to Irvine Medical Center by ambulance.  At that time she was essentially unable to speak, was non-responsive and paralyzed on her right side.  She was diagnosed as having an Acute Left Middle Cerebral Artery Infarct involving the left frontal anterior parietal and superior temporal lobes, as well as the left basal ganglia.

Plaintiff contends that Dr. Doe, as her primary care physician, was familiar with her medical history and should have been aware that based on that prior medical history, she was at increased risk for a stroke.  Even though the Doctor was advised of the incident on December 11, 1995, Dr. Doe never scheduled plaintiff for an examination, never referred her for further care, never followed up on the MRI results, and apparently never requested the results.  In fact, Dr. Doe did nothing.  Plaintiff then claimed as a result, Plaintiff was allowed to languish for almost 72 hours, until her symptoms significantly worsened and the damages became permanent.

Plaintiff contends that if she had been treated appropriately when her symptoms first developed, Plaintiff’s stroke symptoms would have been minor and transitory, with a good recovery.

The Defendant denied Plaintiff’s allegations and claimed Defendant’s action were reasonable based on Plaintiff’s results from the MRI were normal and Plaintiff would have suffered the same results regardless of whether Defendant hospitalized Plaintiff or not.  Hospitalization, and or treatment at the time the symptoms first appeared would not have changed the outcome.

TYPE OF CASE:  Medical Malpractice – failure to diagnose stroke symptoms.

INJURIES:  Plaintiff was diagnosed as having an Acute Left Middle Cerebral Artery Infarct involving the left frontal anterior parietal and superior temporal lobes, as well as the left basal ganglia.

DATE & LOCATION OF INCIDENT:  On 12/11/95 in Irvine, California.

PLAINTIFF’S AGE:  78 at time of incident.


David P. Crandall
For Plaintiff – Confidential

For Defendant – Confidential