LaVine v. Defendant Hospital

  • Circuit Court of DuPage County, Illinois (Kilander)03/06/2006
    Client: Defendant Hospital
    Outcome: Defense Verdict

Synopsis:

In May 2001, plaintiff suffered a CVA and was treated at the hospital by her primary care physician, a gastroenterologist and a neurologist. Upon discharge, plaintiff was started on Aggrenox, an anti-platelet medication, for stroke prevention.

She was scheduled for an outpatient colonoscopy for an evaluation of a prior history of colon cancer. One day before her scheduled colonoscopy, plaintiff was admitted to the hospital with complaints of right-sided weakness and slurred speech.

Plaintiff claimed that she was misinstructed by a nurse at the hospital to stop taking her Aggrenox two days prior to the scheduled colonoscopy as opposed to the night before the scheduled surgery as instructed by her primary care physician. Plaintiff underwent the colonoscopy and thereafter exhibited new neurological symptoms. A stroke was diagnosed.

Plaintiff alleged that her physicians were negligent in performing a colonoscopy when her condition was too unstable for the procedure. She further argued that she prematurely discontinued Aggrennox prior to the procedure based on misinstructions from hospital nurses.

The plaintiff argued that the nurses failed to have an emergency medication, Atropine, available to treat her low heart rate and blood pressure during the colonoscopy. The plaintiff claimed that as a result, she now suffers from right-sided paralysis and is unable to speak or walk. She asked for over $1 million in damages.

The defense successfully argued that plaintiff experienced new neurological symptoms on the Aggrenox and thus the best chance to prevent another stroke was to start the plaintiff on an anti-coagulant.

The defendants further argued that, if the plaintiff was placed on an anti-coagulant, she had a high risk for bleeding and other gastrointestinal problems because of her colon history. The colonoscopy was necessary to determine whether it was safe to put the plaintiff on an anti-coagulant.

The hospital argued that its nurses would never instruct a patient to discontinue prescription medications prior to an out-patient colonoscopy and would instruct a patient to follow their doctor's instructions. Further, Atropine, was available just outside the colonoscopy lab but was not necessary because the heart rate and blood pressure improved with other measures.

The jury returned a defense verdict.