$9,000,000 Settlement For Failure to Diagnose Impending Stroke
A 40-year-old man who requires cannot speak and requires 24-hour care will receive a $9,000,000 settlement to help pay his medical expenses over his remaining lifetime. The man went to the emergency department on a Saturday afternoon complaining of vague neurologic symptoms, including numbness, difficulty swallowing, and slurred speech. He was admitted to the hospital, where he remained with intermittent symptoms over the next five days. He was seen by multiple doctors, who failed to pursue a diagnosis of stroke and eventually decided that the man had a psychosomatic illness. Several brain imaging studies were read as negative, although they showed signs of vertebral artery occlusion. Eventually, the man lost consciousness and stopped breathing, at which time a diagnosis of vertebrobasilar stroke was made. He survived, but suffers from “locked-in” syndrome, which leaves him with normal cognitive function, but quadriplegic and unable to eat or speak. There was a serious medical dispute about whether the stroke could have been successfully treated, even if diagnosed earlier.