A now 22-year-old woman won her Seattle, Washington medical malpractice lawsuit against a hospital and a physcians’ group that alleged that she suffered a stroke shortly after a cardiac catheterization procedure performed at the defendant hospital that was not diagnosed and treated in a timely fashion. The Washington medical malpractice jury awarded the plaintiff $10.95 million for her future economic damages and $3 million for her general damages (noneconomic damages).
The Underlying Facts
The plaintiff was 12 years old when she underwent a heart transplant at the defendant hospital in 2007. In 2013, it was found that a stent in the plaintiff’s heart had fractured. In January 2014, the plaintiff chose to have elective cardiac catheterization to replace the fractured stent.
During the procedure, the surgeons realized that they did not have a sufficient number of stents to complete the procedure. The plaintiff’s Washington medical malpractice lawsuit alleged that the surgeons had to intentionally prolong the surgical procedure while they obtained the necessary stents from another hospital.
The surgeons ultimately decided to proceed with the surgery using a different stent that caused the surgery to be prolonged, lasting almost four hours. The longer the surgery, the higher the risk of stroke.
The plaintiff alleged that she exhibited signs of a stroke post-surgery but the medical staff did not respond to the signs or perform the required medical testing for four hours. The delay in testing and diagnosing the plaintiff’s developing stroke resulted in waiting too long for her doctors to intervene and prevent permanent damage from the stroke.
As a result of the defendants’ alleged negligent delay in diagnosing and treating the plaintiff’s post-surgical stroke, the plaintiff suffered permanent harm, including significantly impaired cognitive function along with speech, mobility, and memory impairments. The plaintiff will require around-the-clock care and services for the rest of her life due to the injuries she suffered from the stroke.
In response to the Washington medical malpractice verdict reached in mid-February 2019, a spokesperson for the defendant hospital stated, “We understand that navigating a complex medical condition can be very difficult, and our deepest sympathy goes out to [the plaintiff] and her family. We remain steadfast in our commitment to patient safety and providing the highest quality medical care.”
“Ischemic Strokes After Cardiac Catheterization”
Stroke is an important complication after cardiac catheterization procedures, resulting in death and disability for thousands of patients each year. Common risk factors include advanced age, vascular comorbidities, and more complicated and invasive procedures. Several lines of evidence suggest that these strokes are embolic, from either dislodgement of a clot or atheromatous debris off the aortic arch or from thrombus formation on the tip of a guide catheter. These strokes are likely amenable to thrombolysis.
More than 2 million cardiac catheterization procedures are performed annually in the United States. Rates of serious complications, including stroke, myocardial infarction, and death, are less than 1% for most catheterization procedures. However, because high volumes are performed, thousands of patients experience strokes after cardiac catheterization each year. As the population ages and more invasive percutaneous cardiac procedures dominate the clinical arena, these complications may become even more common.
If you or a family member may be the victim of medical misdiagnosis in Washington or another U.S. state, you should promptly consult with a Washington medical malpractice lawyer, or a medical malpractice lawyer in your state, who may investigate your medical misdiagnosis claim for you and represent you or your family member in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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