Not guilty after Post Cardiac Catheterization Stroke

Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois
Counsel: Anne Kuban & Jennifer Suttle
Demand: $2.75 million
Asked: $10.3 million
Outcome: Not Guilty

Plaintiff presented to defendant hospital and co-defendant interventional cardiologist for a cardiac catheterization in December 2006 due to long standing cardiac disease. As the catheterization procedure was concluding, Plaintiff exhibited signs of a middle cerebral artery (MCA) occlusion. He had garbled speech, right sided hemiparesis and his head and eyes were deviated to the side. The interventional cardiologist ordered a stat CT scan and asked for an emergency neurology consult. Co-defendant neurologist responded immediately and determined that Plaintiff should be transferred to a nearby hospital so intra-arterial tPa could be administered with mechanical clot disruption. Within 1 ½ hours of the onset of stroke, Plaintiff was transferred. Once Plaintiff was transferred, there were two hours that were unaccounted for before treatment was rendered.

The stroke was a known risk and complication of the cardiac catheterization procedure. Plaintiff claimed that the decision to transfer the patient without first administering IV tPa was negligent and caused permanent neurological deficit including diminished speech, right sided paralysis and the inability to complete the activities of daily living without assistance. Defendants testified that Plaintiff’s left MCA clot would not have responded to IV tPa and the risks associated with administering IV tPa namely bleeding, far outweighed the benefits. All of the medical experts agreed that Plaintiff suffered a significant stroke and no one could exclude the stroke itself as the cause of Plaintiff’s permanent neurological deficits.