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Migraine misdiagnosis leaves woman paralyzed

One bad judgment call can leave an entire family completely devastated. This is what happened to one woman and her family after there was a failure to diagnose a hemorrhagic stroke. Unfortunately, the doctor diagnosed the woman with a migraine and she was left paralyzed. A scenario that represents every North Carolina family's worst fears has become a reality for this unsuspecting woman.

In the winter of 2006, the woman was rushed to the emergency room because she was experiencing dangerously high blood pressure levels and a throbbing headache. According to reports, the woman was being treated for multiple sclerosis at the time. The drugs used for treating this condition are known to cause blood pressure issues, so the doctor gave her pain killers for a migraine.

Unfortunately, the doctor did not investigate thoroughly enough to find the brain hemorrhage. The next morning the headache was gone, but so was the woman's ability to walk or talk. She was paralyzed. Since the incident, the woman has re-gained some of her motor functions, but still has difficulty with everyday tasks.

As a result of the doctor's failure to accurately diagnose the woman's condition, her family decided to sue the health care provider for their negligence. They ended up receiving a judgment in their favor and a $3.9 million reward for the trouble the incident has caused. Hopefully the outcome of the trial will allow the woman, her husband and two young daughters to take care of the necessary medical costs and compensate for related damages and suffering.

The most concerning aspect of this case is that another simple test could have revealed the woman's hemorrhage and there would not have been any trouble. In this case, the doctor should have done all that was necessary to verify his diagnosis. In the end, this case may serve as an example for doctors to exercise the kind of care necessary to keep their patients as healthy as possible.

Source: The Coloradoan, "Fort Collins woman wins $3.9M malpractice suit against former PVH doctor," Robert Allen, April 20, 2012

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