Discharged with a misdiagnosis of vertigo when I actually had a stroke?

by Dizzy in NY

I was involved in a car accident during the summer of 2013. Three weeks after the accident I experienced dizziness, vomiting, excruciating pain in my left ear, and coordination difficulty. I was brought to the emergency department of the local hospital.

I was given Antivert, Tylenol, and Nasonex nose spray, and discharged without so much as a CAT scan. I was told to follow up with my primary physician. I got an appointment four days later with my primary. He immediately sent me to the hospital for a CAT scan, and subsequently an MRI, with and without contrast.

These tests confirmed that I had had a large infarct in the back of my brain, with pooling and swelling in the left side of my brain. My brain nearly herniated from my left ear. I was admitted to the hospital for 5 days.

Seven weeks after this event I was taken by the ambulance to the emergency room again for the same symptoms. I ended up having a continuation of the CVA, they don't consider it a separate event due to the fact that the embolis took the same exact route, only covered a larger portion of the brain.

Would this be medical neglect, especially on the part of the ER for not ordering a CAT scan? Would I be able to sue for malpractice? Thanks.

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ANSWER for "Discharged with a misdiagnosis of vertigo when I actually had a stroke?":

Dizzy in NY (NY, USA)

While it is arguable on your first visit to the hospital they should have ordered an MRI or possibly a CT Scan, the failure to do so didn't appear to have caused or exacerbated your injuries. Your injuries seemed to have occurred independent of the hospital's purported actions or omissions.

For you to have the basis of a medical malpractice claim, you would have to prove the hospital had a legal duty of care to order such tests, and their failure to do so constituted a breach of that duty. Moreover, in addition to proving the hospital breached their duty of care, you would need evidence such breach resulted in compensable damages.

For purposes of medical malpractice, compensable damages can include medical bills, out of pocket expenses for medications, lost wages, and pain and suffering. You don't appear to have sustained any of those damages, at least not as a direct result of the hospital's purported breach.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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