Illinois Malpractice Lawsuit Filed Over Failure to Diagnose Stroke

A misdiagnosis lawsuit has been filed by an Illinois who alleges that three doctors committed medical negligence for failing to diagnose a stroke after viewing the results of a CT scan.

The Illinois medical malpractice lawsuit was filed on October 27 in St. Clair County Circuit Court by Tracy Hunziker, according to a report in The Madison Record. The complaint alleges that Dr. Christopher Russell, Dr. Michael Scott and Dr. Evan Belfer all failed to properly interpret the results of a brain scan, missing indications that Hunziker suffered a stroke.

Hunziker was admitted to the emergency room of St. Joseph Memorial Hospital in Carbondale, Ill. on October 28, 2007, suffering symptoms that included dizziness, headache, numbness and an inability to speak. As a result of the doctors’ failure to diagnose the stroke, Hunzinker alleges that she suffered permanent injuries.

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A 2004 study by researchers from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons found that as much as 12% of patients who suffered a stroke were initially misdiagnosed by doctors. The proper interpretation of CT scans were found to be crucial in correct diagnosis of a stroke, and the most common reason for an incorrect stroke diagnosis was the failure to perform a CT scan on the patient. Researchers found that 73% of the misdiagnosed strokes occurred when no CT scan was performed.

Earlier this year, a study by researchers at Wayne State University found that the rate of stroke misdiagnosis increased when it came younger people under the age of 50. Misdiagnosis occurred in 14 percent of younger stroke victims, whose strokes were often thought to be vertigo, migraines or alcohol intoxication.

Failure to diagnose a stroke can delay treatment, potentially resulting in another more severe stroke, brain injury or other permanent disability for survivors.


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