Case #1045: Aneurysm
On October 13, the Plaintiff, returned to her home from her employment suffering with a new onset, severe headache. She called her Defendant physician and requested to be seen. In response, the Defendant office made an appointment for October 17. At that time, the Plaintiff had the following signs and symptoms: she complained of severe, new onset headache; had been vomiting; experienced severe head pain behind her eyes; and felt a weakness in her legs as well as severe fatigue. At that time the Plaintiff also suffered with hypertension — her blood pressure was 190/96. It is further significant that the Plaintiff had a family history (specifically, her mother) of hypertension and a cerebral vascular accident (bleed into her head) which took her mother’s life.
It is asserted that with the signs and symptoms presented by the Plaintiff, the Defendant was obligated in conformity with the standards of care to refer the patient to a neurologist for an immediate evaluation and/or undertake tests and studies necessary with which to make an immediate diagnosis. It is asserted that the condition from which the Plaintiff suffered represented a potentially catastrophic one which required absolute diagnosis. It is further asserted that a CAT scan and angiogram were necessary to rule out a cerebral aneurysm as the overwhelmingly probable cause of her signs and symptoms. The Plaintiff alleges that the presentation made to the Defendant was classic for cerebral aneurysm which mandated tests and studies and/or the referral referred to hereinabove, to effectively rule in or rule out the presence of the aneurysm.
Contrary to the standards of care, the Defendant did nothing to diagnose and/or institute treatment. It is alleged that the Plaintiff’s condition represented an emergency medical situation which demanded immediate intervention. Contrary to the standards of care, the Defendant failed to order any tests and studies and failed to make any referral with which to arrive at an appropriate diagnosis.
On October 19, the Plaintiff returned to the Defendant’s office with continuing signs and symptoms of a cerebral aneurysm. She still had the severe headache and head pain, fatigue, weakness in her legs, as well as severely elevated blood pressure (188/90). Again, with a second opportunity to intervene, the Defendant failed to do anything to reach an appropriate diagnosis. Contrary to the standards of care, no tests and/or studies were ordered (such as the CAT scan and angiogram referred to hereinabove), and no referral to a neurologist was made. The Defendant simply discharged the patient to her home with no intervention whatsoever.
On the morning of October 29, the Plaintiff began to experience severe vomiting again, as well as fatigue that prevented her from leaving her bed. Her husband called the Defendant’s office who advised him to have her taken to the emergency room via ambulance.
It is alleged that the Plaintiff was taken to a Hospital. Upon presentation, her blood pressure was 170/96, she was vomiting and complaining of head pain. After taken an adequate history, a CAT scan of the head was immediately ordered which revealed temporal horn dilatation, with a mild hydrocephalus. Since the Hospital had no neurosurgical service, the patient was transferred to another Medical Center on the same day.
It is asserted that at the Medical Center, a CAT scan was repeated which was consistent with that taken at the original Hospital. Subsequently, a lumbar puncture was completed which revealed the fact that the Plaintiff had, indeed, bled into her brain, due to an aneurysm.
Subsequently, the patient was transferred to a Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, for a surgical procedure on the aneurysm which proved too little — too late. The damage had been inflicted on the Plaintiff through the continuing negligence of the Defendant physician.
The patient remained at the Hospital in Baltimore until December 18, at which time she was transferred to a rehabilitation center closer to her home. Although she successfully completed the surgery, the severity of the cerebral hemorrhage had rendered her profoundly brain injured. Upon transfer to the rehabilitation center, the Plaintiff has suffered other medical complications — all of which are directly attributable to her severely debilitated state and brain injury inflicted through the negligence of this Defendant. Currently, it is asserted that she remains in a nursing facility where she requires 24-hour — around the clock — care and treatment due to her brain injury.
It is asserted that prior to the negligence complained of, the Plaintiff enjoyed productive and normal health. She was gainfully employed and enjoyed her life’s activities with her husband and family. However, as the direct and proximate result of the negligence of this Defendant, the Plaintiff’s quality of life has been totally destroyed.