Stroke Following Brain Surgery: $2M Settlement

2015 Medical Malpractice Trial Report

Standard of care not followed post brain surgery resulting in brain hemorrhage causing stroke and severe neurological injuries

The plaintiff is an 80-year-old woman who suffered a brain hemorrhage following brain surgery.

On 6/20/12, the plaintiff underwent surgical resection of a benign brain tumor. There were no complications with the surgery itself.

Post-operatively, the defendant neurosurgeon ordered a blood thinner, Heparin, which was intended to be started the following morning, 6/21/12. However, the order written by the defendant nurse practitioner did not specify a start date, and the defendant nursing staff administered Heparin later that same day.

After receiving Heparin, the plaintiff became lethargic with diminished strength in her right arm, and she was unable to move or feel her left leg.

An initial post-op CT scan showed no surgical hemorrhage or acute abnormality, and the defendants planned to continue monitoring the plaintiff’s neurological status.

Overnight, the plaintiff’s neurological status continued to decline; however, despite her declining neurological status, the defendants administered another dose of Heparin the following morning.

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Later that morning, brain imaging studies demonstrated an acute hematoma compressing the brain with considerable mass effect. The defendant neurosurgeon urgently took the plaintiff back to the OR for surgical evacuation of the hematoma.

Unfortunately, the plaintiff’s injuries were irreversible, and the plaintiff continues to suffer from recurrent seizures and left-sided deficits. She cannot walk, needs assistance with transfers, and requires care with activities of daily living. She is wheelchair and bed dependent and suffers from impaired cognitive function as a result of the brain hemorrhage. She will require 24/7 supervision and nursing support for the rest of her life.

The plaintiff alleged that the defendants fell below the accepted standard of care when they failed to properly document and/or convey the proper start time for the Heparin order by including a clear and specific start date and time, and when, despite the plaintiff’s neurological decline after the administration of first post-operative Heparin dose, they failed to hold her future Heparin administrations.

The plaintiff further alleged that as a direct result of the defendants’ deviations from the accepted standard of care, the plaintiff was improperly administered Heparin, causing an intracerebral hemorrhage and resulting in a stroke, permanent neurological injuries, and a seizure disorder. Had the defendants complied with the accepted standard of care, the plaintiff would not have been over-anticoagulated and would not have suffered the brain hemorrhage that caused her stroke and the severe neurological injuries with which she lives today.

The case was settled pre-suit.

Lubin & Meyer attorneys Andrew C. Meyer, Jr. and Nicholas Cappiello represented the plaintiff in this medical malpractice lawsuit.

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