Undiagnosed Stroke

A Kentucky appellate court has overturned the lower court’s dismissal of a stroke patient’s lawsuit against a radiologist and hospital. The plaintiff’s rheumatologist diagnosed him with systemic vasculitis and referred him to radiologist Paul Wesley Lewis who specializes in diagnostic radiology as well as vascular & interventional radiology. While in hospital recovery following his 2010 angiogram, David Shackleford complained of seeing white spots and a headache but was released to go home. Upon re-entering the hospital the next day, an MRI showed signs “of multiple areas of infarct, indicative of a stroke.” Shackelford is suing Dr. Lewis and Ashland Hospital Corporation for medical negligence in ignoring his symptoms while he was under their care. Shackelford’s expert witness testified that Lewis should have performed an immediate diagnostic MRI when his patient exhibited transient floaters and headaches following the angiogram. If the results indicated a stroke, Shackelford should have been treated with oxygenation and blood pressure management. The July 21, 2017, Kentucky Court of Appeals opinion reversed and remanded the decision saying the Boyd Circuit Court improperly granted summary judgment.

WebMD tells us that “An angiogram is an X-ray test that uses a special dye and camera (fluoroscopy) to take pictures of the blood flow in an artery or a vein. In some cases, a method called interventional radiology may be used during an angiogram to treat diseases.”

Radiologists diagnose a wide range of diseases as well as determining when additional testing or follow-up is required. They interpret plain X-ray films, computed tomography (CT or CAT Scan), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasonography, positron emission tomography (PET scan), and angiograms.  While litigation against radiologists most often focuses upon the alleged misinterpretation of imaging studies, in this case, the plaintiff alleges that his doctor did not order the MRI that his symptoms necessitated. When a plaintiff charges his radiologist with medical negligence, the radiology expert witness gives unbiased testimony that is used to support the litigant’s argument in the case. ELITE Medical Experts works with leading university faculty radiology expert witnesses. Contact ELITE to get start-to-finish litigation support for your next radiology case.

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