A Navy veteran who suffered a debilitating stroke after not receiving proper treatment at the VA after a previous stroke, has received a $21.4 million medical malpractice verdict, handed down by a federal judge in New Hampshire.
The Navy veteran had suffered a stroke as a result of a cardioembolic blood clot, which is a clot that forms in the heart and travels through the blood stream to the brain. Patients who suffer a first stroke are known to be at a higher risk of suffering a second stroke. This means that medical professionals who are treating a patient who has previously suffered a stroke must do so with this knowledge in mind. "As such, the established standard of care requires that a stroke patient undergo a thorough diagnostic evaluation to determine the cause of his stroke, and it requires that the patient be prescribed certain medication to treat the underlying condition that caused the stroke to occur"
The federal judge in the medical malpractice case found that the VA Medical Center in Manchester, New Hampshire, did not perform the standard diagnostic evaluations necessary for those who have suffered a stroke and are at risk for a second, thus they did not meet the standard of care. This evaluation includes:
- A CT scan, CTA, EKG, and echocardiogram
- Evaluation of the patient by a cardiologist and neurologist
- Contacting the patient’s primary care physician
- Admission of the patient to the hospital to ensure the diagnostic process is completed
In the case of the patient, who had suffered from a cardioembolic blog clot, the standard of care would be treatment with Coumadin. The defendant VA hospital instead treated the patient with Aspirin therapy. The hospital argued in court that Aspirin and Coumadin were equally appropriate for treatment in this case, but the judge rejected this argument.