Kaiser Doctor Misdiagnosed a Brain Bleed, Woman Claims
BALTIMORE (CN) - A Kaiser doctor misdiagnosed a brain bleed, a woman claims in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County.
Shirley Locke Martin sued Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group, P.C., Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States, Inc. and Phillip Francis Mac, M.D.
Martin, 80, says in her lawsuit that she “was an active and independent person,” although took the prescription medications Flexainide and Warfarin for pre-existing conditions.
On Nov. 24, 2010, she saw Dr. Mac, “complaining of severe sudden headache on the left posterior side of the head, nausea and vomiting, and neck pain,” the complaint states.
“After an examination, Dr. Mac diagnosed Shirley Locke Martin as having ‘occipital neuralgia and myofacial pain syndrome.’ Her prescribed medication was not changed on the Nov. 24, 2010 visit although she was instructed to continue Tylenol twice daily,” the complaint states. He told her to use ice and heat and do neck exercises, it says.
Martin spent the next day, Thanksgiving, in bed, according to the complaint.
The day after Thanksgiving, Martin “returned to Dr. Mac and Kaiser, indicating that her symptoms had worsened and she was now experiencing double vision. Her neck pain had improved but her headaches were now more on the top of her head,” the complaint states.
In his exam notes, Dr. Mac expressed concern about her symptoms, according to the complaint. “I am concerned about her symptoms even though her exam is not dramatic and mostly localized to her neck. Will get eye consult. Also schedule MRI of brain,” the complaint says Dr. Mac wrote in his notes. But Kaiser told her they could not schedule the MRI until Dec. 6, according to the complaint.
Dr. Mac wrote Martin a prescription for hydrocodone-acetominophen, according to the complaint.
On Nov. 28, Martin was taken to non-party Greater Baltimore Medical Center (GBMC) when she was unable to sit up without falling over on her right side, according to the complaint. There she was diagnosed with a brain hemorrhage, which GBMC said was exacerbated by her prescription Warfarin, according to the complaint. Later that day, she was moved to non-party University of Maryland Shock Trauma Unit, where she stayed until Jan. 20, 2011, when she was transferred to an acute rehabilitation facility, according to the complaint.
“Her course of treatment included treatment for alteration of mental state and drainage of blood and fluid from her brain. She had respiratory failure secondary to her intracrainial bleed. A tracheotomy was performed and a percutaneous gastrostomy tube (PEG) inserted. She remained on ventilating support even after being transferred to the intermediate care unit (IMC). Fluid began to diminish in her brain. She developed pneumonia while in the hospital and was treated with antibiotics,” the complaint states. (Parentheses in original.)
Martin accuses Dr. Mac of missing “red flags,” that could have caught the hemorrhage sooner. She contends he prescribed a course of medication that exacerbated the bleeding.
“These ‘red flags’ include a new severe headache when she didn’t have a history of headaches; double vision; nausea and vomiting; and neck pain. A simple test such as a CT or MRI scan should have been ordered on Nov. 24, 2010 to show if there was a brain bleed. Rather than schedule these tests to be performed on Nov. 24, 2010, Dr. Mac determined she had ‘occipital neuralgia’ and continued her on Coumadin/Warfarin and advised her to continue with taking Tylenol,” the complaint states.
The Tylenol combined with her prescription for Coumadin/Warfarin, plus the additional prescription for hydrocodone-acetaminophen, all put Martin at an increased risk of hemorrhage, she contends.
Shirley Locke Martin seeks compensatory damages, costs and expenses and a jury trial. She is represented by Roger S. Weinberg of Towson, Md.