Brain Hemorrhage Lawsuit Settlement Is $2 Million
2011 Medical Malpractice Trial Report
Failure to give or monitor plateletes and resulting brain hemorrhage leads to significant brain damage
In the early morning hours of 12/14/06, the plaintiff, an MIT senior, presented to the MIT infirmary with blood in his urine, a history of recent nose bleeds, petechiae (bleeding into the skin) on his legs and arms, and blood blisters around his mouth. He was sent immediately by ambulance to the Massachusetts General Hospital ER.
At 2:50 AM on 12/14/06, the plaintiff arrived at Mass. General. It was immediately thought that he was suffering from a bleeding disorder called ITP and various blood tests were ordered including a complete blood count (CBC). At 3:45 AM, the CBC showed the plaintiff had undetectable platelets (normal 150,000 to 350,000). As a result of the undetectable platelets, the two defendant hematologists (one was an attending and the other was a fellow) were contacted to evaluate the plaintiff and make treatment recommendations. The defendants diagnosed the plaintiff with likely idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) in the wake of a viral illness and ordered immunoglobulin and steroids. The defendants did not order any platelets despite the fact that the plaintiff’s platelets were undetectable.
The plaintiff remained in the ER for over 20 hours before he was finally admitted to the floor. He had no further evaluation by the defendants and had no further blood work to check on his platelets. At approximately 12:30 AM on 12/15/06, the plaintiff developed a headache that was treated with Tylenol with no improvement. A neurological consultation was performed and a head CT scan was ordered. While waiting for the head CT scan, the plaintiff’s head pain increased dramatically, he started to vomit, and his became lethargic.The CT scan revealed a new, large (9.5 x 3.9 x 4.4 cm) left hemisphere hemorrhage extending into the subarachnoid space.
Neurosurgery was called and he was taken emergently to the OR for a left hemi-craniectomy and evacuation. Following surgery, the pressures in the plaintiff’s brain remained high, so he was taken back to surgery for a left hemi-craniectomy expansion, further evacuation of his hemorrhage, and a left temporal lobe lobectomy.
After he recovered from his operations, he was sent to a rehabilitation hospital where he was treated and assessed. The plaintiff was diagnosed with significant disruption of left hemisphere brain networking, including profound word finding difficulty, profound speech issues, profound difficulty performing even the most basic math functions and significant problems with the vision in his right eye.
As a result of significant therapy over the next few years, the plaintiff was able to return to MIT in and finish his last year of school with daily assistance and supervision. He continues today to have vision problems and speech and language difficulties.
The plaintiff expected to present expert medical testimony that the defendants were negligent in treating the plaintiff by failing to give him platelets prior to the brain hemorrhage. It was the plaintiff’s position that he needed platelets due to the fact that his platelets were undetectable upon arrival.
The defendants were expected to present medical testimony that the defendants treated the plaintiff appropriately. They were expected to show that platelets are only given for patients with ITP when the patient is actually having a brain bleed.
The case settled at mediation one week before trial for $2,000,000.
Lubin & Meyer attorneys represented the plaintiff in this lawsuit.
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