On July 3, 2017, a Miami-Dade County, Florida medical malpractice jury returned its verdict in the amount of $7,991,000 in favor of a 77-year-old woman who suffered a debilitating stroke affecting her left side after her cardiologists stopped her blood-thinning medication, Coumadin.
The plaintiff’s Florida medical malpractice lawsuit alleged that the defendant cardiologists were negligent by stopping her Coumadin. The plaintiff had atrial fibrillation and other heart ailments that made her susceptible to suffering blood clots that could lead to stroke or other serious medical conditions. The plaintiff had received a pacemaker and defibrillator in 2008. In October 2013, the plaintiff suffered a stroke that paralyzed her on her left side after her Coumadin was stopped.
The defendants argued that it was within the standard of care for them to stop prescribing Coumadin under the circumstances, and that the woman was susceptible to suffering a stroke regardless, due to her age and her underlying medical conditions.
The Florida medical malpractice jury found against the defendants and awarded the plaintiff $6.25 million for her noneconomic damages, including pain and suffering, and nearly $1.75 million for her economic damages.
Atrial Fibrillation (“AFib”)
According to the National Stroke Association, AFib is a type of irregular heartbeat, often caused when the two upper chambers of the heart beat unpredictably and sometimes rapidly. These irregular heartbeats can cause blood to collect in the heart and potentially form a clot, which can travel to a person’s brain and cause a stroke.
AFib affects an estimated 2.2 million people in the U.S. Approximately 15% of all people who have strokes also have AFib. Up to 80% of strokes in people with AFib can be prevented. People with AFib have a five-times greater risk of stroke than people without AFib.
AFib may affect anyone at any age, but is more common in older people. Approximately 5% of people 65 and older have AFib. About 10% of people older than 80 have AFib. AFib is more prevalent in people with high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.
AFib causes blood to pool in the atria, which may lead to the formation of clots. If a clot travels to the brain, a stroke may occur. Between 60% and 80% of strokes suffered by people with AFib are preventable.
Anticoagulants, such as Coumadin, can reduce the risk of first stroke in people with AFib by between 60% and 80%.
Strokes may cause permanent and debilitating injuries when they occur. Strokes that could have been avoided had proper medical care been provided are catastrophes for both the victim and the victim’s family, who often must become the caregivers for their loved one.
If you or a family member suffered a serious injury that may be due to medical malpractice in Florida or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find a medical malpractice lawyer in Florida or in your state who may investigate your possible medical malpractice claim for you, and represent you or your family member in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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