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Failure to Diagnose Brain Injury in ER

CATEGORIES: Emergency Room Brain Injuries CASE LOCATION: Allegheny Co., PA. CLASSIFICATION: Substantial Recoveries

The Bergman Case

In this case, we represented Mr. Bergman, an elderly gentleman, who fell on the front steps of his home. He was taken to the hospital where he was treated by an Emergency Room doctor.

After his exam, the E.R. doctor noted that Mr. Bergman was very confused, that he suffered an “egg sized” hematoma (a collection of blood, generally the result of hemorrhage) to his scalp, and that he was on Coumadin, a blood thinning medication. Despite this, the E.R. doctor did not feel that Mr. Bergman’s condition merited a CT scan, an MRI, or any other diagnostic test to evaluate the extent of the head injury, nor did the E.R. doctor admit Mr. Bergman for extended observation. Instead, Mr. Bergman was sent home.

The following day, Mr. Bergman experienced a severe headache, sharp pain in his right eye and forehead, nausea, vomiting, nasal drainage, and an increase in his confusion. Mr. Bergman was immediately taken to the hospital where he began to experience seizures. A CT scan revealed a massive right subdural hematoma. Mr. Bergman required intubation to preserve his airways and was then transferred to another hospital for surgical removal of the subdural hematoma.

Expert physicians opined that the E.R. was negligent for failing to appreciate Mr. Bergman’s injury and by failing to order the appropriate diagnostic tests. Had the E.R. complied with the standard of care, Mr. Bergman’s brain bleed would have been discovered and treated during the initial visit. Unfortunately, as a result of the delay, Mr. Bergman’s brain injury left him with permanent impairment of his mental status, impaired mobility, permanent impairment of his musculoskeletal system, speech impairment, a permanent feeding tube, loss of bladder control, and paralysis.

The case settled for a substantial amount of money.