Lawsuit alleges stroke misdiagnosis at CHI St. Luke’s—The Woodlands Hospital


Medical experts believe that ER physician botched the stroke diagnosis, thinking it was peripheral vertigo

October 3, 2018

Painter Law Firm filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against CHI St. Luke’s—The Woodlands Hospital and an emergency physician over a misdiagnosed stroke.

In November 2016, our 53-year-old client, a man, went to the emergency room at CHI St. Luke’s—The Woodlands Hospital because he was experiencing dizziness, projectile vomiting, and balance issues. He had to be wheeled into the hospital using a hospital wheelchair. He told the triage nurse about how he had fallen four days earlier, hitting his chest hard on the concrete, and that his chest still hurt.

The emergency physician did a quick exam, documenting little about her findings. She prescribed some medicine to help with his dizziness, diagnosed him with a bilateral peripheral vertigo, and discharged him from the hospital without ordering any radiology scans to determine what was going on.

The next day, the man’s wife called 911 after she saw her husband having projectile vomiting, garbled speech, and slumping over on the couch. She told the 911 operator that she believed her husband was having a stroke. He was quickly transported back to the CHI St. Luke’s—The Woodlands Hospital emergency room.

As it turns out, the same nurse triaged him that second day. This time, the emergency physician ordered an MR angiogram, which showed evidence of a stroke.

As part of our careful review and investigation of this case, we hired medical experts to review the medical records and diagnostic radiology images.

According to our medical experts, the emergency room physician botched the diagnosis on the first day by rushing to a conclusion without doing a proper workout. They believe that the emergency physician should have been considering the diagnosis of stroke, based on his symptoms the first day, and should not have discharged him from the hospital without rolling out.

Our nursing expert is critical of the CHI St. Luke’s—The Woodlands Hospital emergency room nurse for failing to follow his obligation, under the Texas Board of Nursing rules, to advocate against discharge and for the safety of the patient.

The neuroradiologist that we retained to review the MR angiogram images from the second day believes that they show evidence of a small stroke that occurred a day earlier. Our medical experts believe that, if the emergency physician and nursing staff had fulfilled their obligations on the first day, the patient would have been correctly diagnosed with a stroke and treated with anticoagulation therapy, which would have prevented him from experiencing two more significant strokes over the next several days.

Unfortunately, because of the medical negligence alleged in this lawsuit, our client will live the rest of his life with serious impairments that could have been avoided with proper treatment. Our experts do not believe that he will ever be able to return to his prior employment as a registered nurse.

As a Houston, Texas, medical malpractice attorney, this is not the first case that I have handled where we believe that healthcare providers were negligent in misdiagnosing a stroke. Even at hospitals with a very good reputation, doctors miss the mark by settling on harmless diagnoses, rather than meeting the standard of care and fully investigating dangerous potential conditions, like stroke, which should be in their differential diagnosis.

We are here to help

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or even died because of poor medical, surgical, or hospital care, then the experienced medical malpractice attorneys at Painter Law Firm, in Houston, Texas, are here to help. Click here to send us a confidential email via our “Contact Us” form or call us at 281-580-8800.

All consultations are free, and, because we only represent clients on a contingency fee, you will owe us nothing unless we win your case. We handle cases in the Houston area and all over Texas. We are currently working on medical malpractice lawsuits in Houston, The Woodlands, Sugar Land, Conroe, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Bryan/College Station, and Waco.


Robert Painter is a medical malpractice attorney at Painter Law Firm PLLC, in Houston, Texas. He is a former hospital administrator who represents patients and family members in medical negligence and wrongful death lawsuits against hospitals, physicians, surgeons, anesthesiologists, and other healthcare providers. A member of the board of directors of the Houston Bar Association, he was honored, in 2018, by H Texas as one of Houston’s top lawyers. Also in 2018, the Better Business Bureau recognized Painter Law Firm PLLC with its Award of Distinction.

Robert Painter

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


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