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Delay In Stroke Treatment Results In Lawsuit Against Hospital


Two health care organizations in the Tampa Bay area are facing a lawsuit after a patient’s CT scan gathered dust for six hours while the patient’s condition worsened. For those of you who have ever had a relative suffer a stroke, you likely know that early intervention is linked with the best prognosis. The longer you wait, the more likely it is that the brain damage caused by the stroke will be irreversible. According to this lawsuit, the health care providers waited six hours before reading the patient’s CT scan resulting in a delay of care and causing permanent, irreversible brain damage.

What Happened? 

The patient was rushed to the hospital by his family. At the hospital, he underwent a mechanical thrombectomy for a blood clot. The clot was cleared from his neck and his doctors ordered a CT scan STAT. For those of you who watch medical dramas, STAT translates to “now”. The hospital’s policy states that CT scans for stroke symptoms must be performed with 45 minutes. The CT scan was performed more than an hour after the request. The scan wasn’t read until five hours later. The patient is now a vegetable. He cannot walk, talk, feed himself or go to the bathroom by himself. His life, for all intents and purposes, is over.

Elements of Negligence 

The hospital responded to the suit by claiming that their negligence had nothing to do with the deterioration of the plaintiff’s condition. In other words, they can admit to committing negligence, violating their own policy, and failing the prevailing standard of care for the industry, but unless that negligence is the direct or proximate cause of the patient’s injuries, the plaintiff has no right to recovery.

This places the burden on the plaintiffs to prove that the patient could have been saved if treatment was delivered in a timely manner in accord with the prevailing standard of care. Given that the hospital violated its own policies, it is fairly obvious that the standard of care was breached. Therefore, the case will hinge on whether the plaintiffs can prove that the severity of the patient’s condition is related to the delay in care.

Will that be difficult? Probably not. Even laypeople know that acting quickly on a stroke improves outcomes. In this case, the hospital had a policy, it violated the policy, with the result that they destroyed a patient’s brain and life. It’s hard to say that the patient would have ended up in this condition regardless of whether or not the standard of care was rendered in this case. A jury is more likely to side with the plaintiff’s argument since everything we know about strokes indicates that early intervention works best; the likely reason for the hospital’s policy concerning the processing of CT scans to find the blockage.

Talk to a Tampa Medical Malpractice Attorney 

If you or someone you love has been injured by a hospital or doctor, the Tampa medical malpractice attorneys at Palmer | Lopez can file a lawsuit on your behalf and get you the compensation you deserve to manage your condition.


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