Lawsuit: The Methodist Hospital ignores stroke symptoms and causes permanent brain injury

 

Doctors and nurses at Eddy Scurlock Stroke Center send young African American woman home with no treatment, despite textbook stroke symptoms

 
June 11, 2014

The Texas medical malpractice lawyers at Painter Law Firm filed a lawsuit against The Methodist Hospital (now called Houston Methodist Hospital), as well as an emergency room doctor, attending neurologist and neurology resident who worked at that facility. The case is pending the 113th District Court of Harris County, Texas, where Judge Michael Landrum is presiding. 

We filed the case on behalf of our client, Binti Lee, who was a 34-year-old African American woman in December 2012, when a medical malpractice tragedy occurred. 

There are some things about medical emergencies that we ALL know. When we hear of someone with sudden one-sided paralysis and difficulty speaking, the first thing we think is “stroke.” And if any of us were to see these signs in someone, we know to get that person to a hospital immediately. Even The Methodist Hospital’s own website contains a printable card that advises: “Learn to recognize a stroke. Be a hero. Save a life. Think F.A.S.T.” The card uses an acronym to remind people to look for:

  • Face symptoms on one side

  • Arm symptoms on one side

  • Speech symptoms

  • Time to call 911 fast

That is exactly what Andre Brown, Binti Lee's boyfriend, did when he heard a thump early one Sunday evening, in December 2012.  He ran to her side and saw that Binti was weak, could not stand up on one side and was having trouble talking. A nurse who lived next door shared his concern that Binti may be having a stroke and needed emergency care.

In less than an hour, Binti was at The Methodist Hospital and was seen in the emergency room by an emergency physician, who ordered a neurology consultation. Instead of having a fully-trained neurologist evaluate Binti, The Methodist Hospital and the doctors there settled for a doctor in still in training to evaluate Binti that evening. 

An inexperienced doctor, just five months into his neurology residency, examined Binti for the stroke team and reported his findings to the off-site attending (fully trained) neurologist. These doctors somehow decided that Binti, despite having the most obvious signs of stroke, was confused or depressed and ordered her discharged.

The Methodist Hospital nurses did not question the inexperienced resident doctor's evaluation, and assisted in the discharge. Both the  nurses and the doctors ignored Binti’s dangerous stroke symptoms, which they had documented in her medical records, including:

  • Right-sided facial droop

  • Severe paresthesia (paralysis) of the right lower extremity, right upper extremity and right side of the face

  • Inability to walk

  • Marked aphasia (unable to speak)

The Methodist Hospital nurses and doctors chose to ignore Binti’s textbook symptoms of stroke.  They chose to ignore what they put in their own brochures.  If they had not made these choices but instead if they had given her the life-saving “clot busting” medication tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA), our expert stroke neurologist says that she would have survived the trauma without devastating harm. They would have saved her brain function.

Instead, they chose to discharge her without any treatment.  In fact, The Methodist Hospital personnel did not even help Binti out of the hospital, leaving that to her boyfriend, in the middle of the night.

Over the next day and half, Binti rested, but her condition did not improve. Her boyfriend took her to Memorial Hermann Memorial City, where she was immediately diagnosed with a severe stroke.

Binti faced months of inpatient and outpatient therapy at Memorial Hermann TIRR. Her life has been forever changed from the terrible care she received at The Methodist Hospital, and she continues to suffer from expressive aphasia, apraxia, unsteady gait and right-sided weakness, which dramatically limit her activities and career path.

If you or someone you care about has suffered because of a misdiagnosed stroke, contact the Houston medical malpractice lawyers at Painter Law Firm, for a complimentary consultation about your potential case. 

Robert Painter

Robert Painter is a medical malpractice lawyer at Painter Law Firm PLLC.

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