Jon Campisi Sep. 27, 2011, 3:18pm

A Philadelphia couple has filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania for injuries the wife reportedly suffered from not having been given a proper and timely diagnosis.

Attorney James E. Foerstner, of the firm of Kolsby, Gordon, Robin, Shore & Bezar, filed the civil action Sept. 23 at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas on behalf of Dorothy Anderson and her husband, Michael Washington.

In addition to the hospital, the co-defendants listed in the complaint are the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

According to the lawsuit, Anderson was admitted to the emergency room at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania on March 28, 2010, with complaints of tingling and swelling in her right arm. She was subsequently evaluated by hospital physicians and nursing staff, as well as residents and fellows.

Emergency room personnel were concerned that Anderson’s symptoms might have been symptomatic of transient ischemic attack or stroke, the suit claims.

Anderson was given a CAT scan, during which “no significant intracranial abnormality” was identified, the suit states.

But the CAT scan was ordered “without contrast,” the suit states, and if it had been ordered with contrast, a developing intracranial aneurysm would have been detected, the suit claims.

If the aneurysm was detected during that March 28 visit, it could have been treated and would have prevented rupture, according to the suit.

After the CAT scan, Anderson was evaluated by a neurology resident at the hospital, who, the suit claims, does not have the same “expertise, experience or training as an attending physician.”

It was determined that no further neuro “work-up” was needed following the assessment.

“As a result of the neurologic evaluation performed by a Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania neurology resident … Ms. Anderson was discharged from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania with the diagnosis of ‘tingling [and] muscle fatigue,’” the lawsuit states.

Anderson was then sent home, but she had to be brought back to the hospital on April 19, 2010, for complaints of a headache, visual disturbance, dizziness and vomiting, the suit states. The symptoms are demonstrative of an intracranial bleed caused by a subarachnoid hemorrhage, the suit states.

A subsequent CAT scan showed such a hemorrhage had developed as a result of an aneurysm.

In an effort to repair the aneurysm, hospital staff performed a “coiling” procedure on Anderson to prevent a further deterioration of her condition, the lawsuit states. However, the procedure proved problematic, resulting in further complications in the form of bilateral brain tissue infarcts.

The complaint claims that Anderson is now permanently bedridden, and that she cannot walk, talk or otherwise care for herself.

She requires daily nursing care and is aided by her husband and two children, the suit states.

The lawsuit accuses the defendants of negligence for failing to render reasonable medical care in the diagnosis of a cerebral aneurysm, failing to recognize the signs and symptoms of an impending stroke, failing to have the patient examined and evaluated by the appropriate personnel, failing to recognize the signs and symptoms of an aneurysm and a cerebral bleed, and other failures.

Anderson demands judgment against the defendants in a sum in excess of $50,000, exclusive of interest and related court costs.

Anderson’s husband, Michael Washington, has a loss of consortium claim in the lawsuit in which he claims he has been deprived of his wife’s companionship. He demands judgment against the defendants in a sum in excess of $50,000, plus interest and related costs.

A jury trial has been demanded.

The case number is 110902663.

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