$1.5 Million Settlement in Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death Case for Failure to Diagnose Bacterial Endocarditis
The patient began feeling flu-like symptoms after undergoing four hours of periodontal surgery. A few days later she experienced numbness and clumsiness on her left side, indicating some type of neurological event. She presented at the office of her family medical group and saw an internist who contacted a consulting neurologist by phone. The neurologist was told about the four hours of oral surgery and suggested that the patient might have experienced an arterial dissection, which is also known as a "beauty parlor stroke" because in rare cases it can be brought on by the neck being in an unusual position for an extended period.
The patient was immediately sent to the emergency room. Within hours of her admission, bilateral stroke was diagnosed and arterial dissection was eliminated as a possible cause. At the hospital, she was attended to by two cardiologists, a neurologist, an internist, and an emergency medicine specialist, All of the doctors knew that she had recently undergone extensive dental work and that dental work can cause endocarditis in patients with pre-existing heart valve issues. Nevertheless, no diagnosis was made over the next seven days and no antibiotics were administered. As a result, the patient suffered several massive strokes and subsequently died.
The case was filed and litigated in New York State Supreme Court, Nassau County.