A woman with a brain tumor who was left blind, paralyzed and brain damaged after emergency room doctors failed to order a simple CT scan has been awarded $11.2 million by a Philadelphia jury, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
Yanira Montanez, a 20-year-old mother with a four-month-old baby, arrived at the Episcopal Hospital emergency room in Philadelphia complaining of headaches, numbness, nausea, and vomiting. She was given medication and discharged. The next day, Montanez went to Northeastern Hospital complaining of the same symptoms. Once again, she was given medication to treat her symptoms and sent home. On the third day, she returned but was only given medication. The following day, Montanez passed out at home and fell down the stairs allegedly due to the brain tumor.
Her lawyers argued that Montanez exhibited symptoms that indicated she had a brain tumor. If the doctors had ordered a CT scan on any of the previous days, the tumor could have been treated before she was left permanently disabled. But because Montanez’s health coverage was through Medicaid, her lawyers argued, the hospital knew it would only be reimbursed $135 for a procedure that costs more than $3,000 and therefore they did not order the test.
Montanez filed a medical malpractice suit against the three emergency room doctors, the two hospitals and the Temple University Health System. On Aug. 18, a jury awarded Montanez $11.2 million, including $5.9 million for future medical expenses.
After the verdict, Kenneth M. Rothweiler, the attorney who represented Montanez, said the case highlighted the issue of economic discrimination.
“People on Medicaid don’t get the same treatment in the emergency room as people with private insurance. Anybody with those symptoms and a Blue Cross Blue Shield card or comparable insurance would have been CT scanned on the first visit.”
At Carey, Danis & Lowe, we are experienced in handling cases involving the negligence of emergency room doctors. If an emergency room physician does not make the correct diagnosis, order an appropriate test, or admit a patient in serious distress, it can lead to serious injury and death.
If you are suffering from an injury or you have lost a loved one as a result of medical malpractice, contact Carey, Danis & Lowe immediately through our online contact form or by calling 877-678-3400. We will meet with you at your convenience for a free consultation to discuss your options.