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Stroke Patient Waited 6 Hours For CT Scan


If you know anything about strokes, then you know that any delay in treatment can lead to devastating consequences. Doctors, of course, know this as the prognosis for any victim is directly related to how quickly doctors can address the issue. Finally, it makes complete sense that faster intervention would lead to a better prognosis because strokes restrict the access of blood to the brain. The longer the brain is starved of oxygen, the more likely that permanent brain damage would occur.

Recently, a hospital faced a lawsuit because one of their patients waited 6 hours for their CT scan to be read while his prognosis continued to worsen. The family blames the hospital for the delay after they got their loved one to the hospital as quickly as possible.

What happened? 

The family says that they got their loved one to the hospital immediately after recognizing the signs of a stroke. What happened after he got there, they alleged, amounts to medical malpractice.

According to the lawsuit, when the plaintiff was admitted, he scored 15 on the Glasgow trauma coma score, a neurological scale which details where a patient is at in terms of alertness and responsiveness. 15 is the highest anyone can score, meaning that the plaintiff was fully alert after the doctors prescribed a clot-busting medication. Later that night, doctors performed a procedure to clear a clot from his neck.

The next day, however, the patient’s symptoms began to worsen. His face was dropped, his speech was slurred, and he was complaining of a headache. His doctor ordered a CT scan “stat” which means immediately in Latin. According to the lawsuit, it never happened. The CT scan was not read for 6 hours and 35 minutes. According to hospital policy, all imagine scans under stat protocol are to be read within 30 minutes of the order.

There were repeated communications to find the result throughout that period of time, but it never made its way to the plaintiff’s doctor. The hospital insists that any injury caused to the plaintiff was inevitable due to the natural course of the plaintiff’s stroke.

The position the hospital is taking is a generic defense. By arguing that the victim would have died anyway, they are saying the delay in treatment is not the proximate cause of the victim’s injuries. While it’s unlikely that they’ll be able to “prove” that earlier intervention would have led to the same circumstances, it is a defensible position. It still places the burden of proof on the plaintiff to prove that the delay in treatment caused the worsening of the plaintiff’s condition. However, the plaintiff need only prove their case by a preponderance of the evidence. In other words, it only needs to be more likely than not.

Talk to a Tampa Personal Injury Attorney Today 

If you’ve been injured due to medical negligence, simple negligence, or malice, call the Tampa personal injury attorneys at the Matassini Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.



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