Laboratory Report Error Delays in Stroke Treatment
A middle-aged man is sleeping when his wife asks him to roll over, and he does but falls out of the bed and cannot move his left leg. The wife calls 911 and he is taken to a nearby hospital that quickly the correct workup, including blood work and a CT scan. The emergency department (ED) physicians promptly determine the man is having a stroke in the right side of his brain (which controls the left side of the body). Before the ED doctors can give him the clot-buster drug (tPA) to break up the brain clot, however, a blood test reported by the hospital’s laboratory shows that the man has extremely thin blood already. This means that it is now too dangerous to give him tPA, since the drug would further thin the blood and can lead to death from hemorrhage. As a result, the man does not get tPA, and his severe stroke evolves into a worse one that causes massive brain damage and his death. After investigation, suit was brought and it was alleged that the hospital’s laboratory blood test result--saying the man had extremely thin blood that made tPA contraindicated—was in error, due to a failure to obtain a sufficient blood sample amount and to have labeled the sample correctly. In other words, the case alleged that the hospital ED doctors were misled into not giving tPA to the man due to negligence of the hospitals’ laboratory and/or its personnel. Clore Law Group, LLC, along with co-counsel, settled the case confidentially in the widow’s favor.
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