Hospital sued after allegedly failing to properly diagnose stroke victim

By Jim Boyle | Dec 10, 2014

A Montgomery County couple says a local medical center failed to follow proper treatment

A Montgomery County couple says a local medical center failed to follow proper treatment

procedures when the husband arrived at the emergency room with stroke symptoms, according to a suit filed at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Valentine Delibertis and his wife, Kathleen, of Sanatoga, Pa., seek damages in excess of $50,000 on five counts against the Pottstown Memorial Medical Center, the emergency room Doctor Jonathan Buckley and the on-call neurologist, Dr. Marta Jiminez. The complaint says that all parties showed negligent behavior in the treatment of Valentine last February.

According to the complaint, Valentine was driving with his wife when he began to experience confusion and weakness in his left side. They rushed to the nearby Pottstown Memorial and were in the ER within 15 minutes, with Valentine showing notable symptoms such as facial drooping. Kathleen informed Buckley that her husband experienced a period of confusion while driving and could not find the brake. Buckley also learned that Valentine suffered from non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

The claim says that Buckley performed an incomplete physical in just 10 minutes, including a stroke scale examination, and note nothing abnormal about Valentine's condition. Buckley contacted the on-call neurologist, Dr. Jiminez, who ordered Valentine discharged without seeing him. He was sent home with a prescription for Tylenol and instructions to set up an office visit.

The claim says that Buckley should have checked Valentine's carotid artery, which is known to experience blockage for patients undergoing radiation therapy. Either a stethoscope or ultrasound would have uncovered the blockage, which could have been treated by heparin, coumadin or plavix since it would have been detected early.

However, Valentine was sent home, where he continued to experience heavy symptoms of a stroke. Kathleen brought her husband back to the ER a few hours later. He was finally diagnosed with suffering a stroke episode and admitted for neurology evaluation. A scan of his carotid revealed a 90 percent blockage of the artery.

The complaint says that the defendants caused an extended delay for Valentine's treatment, resulting in the patient suffering problems with dexterity and coordination in his left hand, increased fatigue, need to walk with a cane and facial droop.

The plaintiffs say the hospital and its doctors violated the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act by failing to perform a complete examination and discharging Valentine despite his clear symptoms.

The Delibertises are represented by attorneys from Layser and Freiwald in Philadelphia.

The case ID is 2:14-cv-06971-SD.

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