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Shapiro & Appleton

Stroke Misdiagnosis and Lack of Cancer Treatment Left Man Blind, Unable to Walk

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A man who suffered a series of strokes and went a long time without being treated for a spreading cancer has won a nearly $2 million verdict against the hospital where he was misdiagnosed and incorrectly cared for. A civil trial jury in Worcester, Massachusetts (MA), found on December 14, 2010, that St. Vincent Hospital owed the man and his family compensation for negligence that left him blind and confined to a bed or wheelchair.

While welcoming the verdict, the man's wife told a news reporter, "no amount of money will cure her husband, who is unable to live at home."

Misdiagnosing a stroke or conditions such as blocked arteries, persistent high blood pressure or deep-vein thrombosis that can lead to a stroke can cause a patient to die or suffer permanent disability. While the signs of a stroke, such as numbness or paralysis, double or blurred vision, confusion, severe headache and slurred speech are pretty clear, emergency room doctors and nurses can miss them or ascribe them to other causes such as infections or dehydration.

The deadly consequence of leaving cancer undetected and untreated are also dire.

No health care provider ever intentionally makes a mistake when treating a patient. But mistakes do occur in hospitals, clinics, operating rooms and physicians' and dentists' offices. Those medical errors  happen due to negligence, poor training, inadequate procedures and numerous other reasons. When patients suffer or die because of medical mistakes, they and their families must be able to trust the courts to see that justice is done and those responsible are held accountable. I applaud the Massachusetts jury for making sure that happened in this case.

EJL
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