Call to request a free consultation: 540.345.2000

Personal Injury Lawyers in Southwest Virginia, Virginia, and Nationally

Aborted Stroke Protocol

When an emergency medicine physician aborted stroke protocol for a patient, he committed medical malpractice. In this incidence, a female patient suffered permanent brain damage and partial vision loss.

Upon regaining consciousness after collapsing in her home, a 45-year-old woman experienced confusion

Aborted Stroke Protocol - Altizer Law PC

CT Scan of ischemic stroke

and a type of vision loss called a “vision field cut.” Emergency Medical Services (EMS) responded to a call and transported the woman to a Primary Stroke Certified hospital. Upon arrival the stroke protocol was initiated. She was evaluated by an emergency medicine physician. At the time of this examination, plaintiff (the woman) was easily within the stroke treatment period of 3 hours (4.5 hours in some cases).

The emergency medicine physician evaluated the plaintiff and reviewed a CT scan that was negative for stroke. He then discontinued the stroke treatment protocol. He assumed that plaintiff had a migraine headache.

Several hours later the plaintiff underwent an MRI. This test revealed that she had experienced a significant posterior cerebral artery ischemic stroke. But by the time the MRI was read, the stroke treatment period had passed and the stroke protocol could not be restarted.

The plaintiff sustained brain damage and a permanent partial loss of vision (due to the vision field cut). She filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the emergency medicine physician.

During a jury trial, the doctor defended his actions with two claims. The first defense argument was that the symptoms were more consistent with a migraine than with a stroke. The second argument was that tPA (the “Clot-busting drug”) works in less than half of the cases when it is used. He claimed that this failure rate indicated that not administering the drug was not the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.

Plaintiff and her attorneys claimed that the doctor made several mistakes:

  • He aborted the stroke protocol too soon
  • He did not conduct an adequate NIH stroke scale exam
  • He ordered a nurse not to perform her own stroke scale exam
  • He failed to employ a differential diagnosis analysis.

Using relevant literature and radiology, plaintiff and her attorneys also demonstrated that her stroke would have responded to tPA.

The plaintiff’s claim that the emergency medicine doctor aborted the stroke protocol too early, causing her permanent damage due to his medical malpractice ruled by the jury and the plaintiff was awarded $2.5 million.

If you or a loved one has been harmed due to the negligence or wrongdoing of a medical professional you may be entitled to bring suit to recover damages for the hurts and harms of the medical malpractice. Bettina Altizer and her team of seasoned experts have the experience, the compassion, and the tenacity represent you in a medical malpractice lawsuit. Bettina and her team have been helping people to recover damages for more than 30 years. When medical treatment goes wrong, call Altizer Law, P.C., a trusted Virginia medical malpractice attorney.