Doctors’ Misdiagnoses, Treatment Cause Injury, Woman Claims
By Philip A. Janquart
DENVER, Colo. (CN) - Doctors at a Kaiser hospital failed to properly diagnose and treat a woman who ultimately suffered permanent brain damage as a result, she claims in a complaint filed in Denver District Court.
Jennifer Silverstein began seeing Kaiser doctors in September 2009, complaining of radiating pain that extended from her right shoulder to her thumb. Her symptoms began to worsen and several blood tests were taken during the following year, doctors reporting no unusual signs despite test results that showed a hemoglobin count of 16 and platelet count of 502. Those numbers steadily rose, but doctors reassured her there was nothing extraordinary about it, according to the complaint.
She eventually was diagnosed with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome as the symptoms continued to get worse; she was prescribed Amitriptyline and was splinted.
Silverstein’s symptoms caused her to visit Kaiser Foundation Health Plan urgent care center for fingers that had turned blue and pain that began radiating from the back of her elbow to her hand. She was diagnosed with Raynaud’s Syndrome and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and told to follow up with Dr. Jed Olson, who informed her the labs done in urgent care were normal, despite results of a hemoglobin count of 17.2 and a platelet count of 508.
Olson examined her again on Feb.1, 2010, Silverstein exhibiting high blood pressure of 124/110. Dr. James Regan examined her on March 2, 2010 after she registered a blood pressure reading of 190/130.
She was then diagnosed with “Thoracic Outlet Syndrom with 70 percent narrowing of the subclavian arteries bilaterally due to cervical rib,” the complaint states.
She underwent two extensive and complicated surgeries in March 2010 to fix the problem, and was put on an anticoagulation program that included taking aspirin, Coumadin and Plavix.
On Sept. 9, 2010, Silverstein reported she had begun experiencing “HUGE,” painful bruises, but was told by Olson that “such bruising was normal for patients with that degree of anticoagulation and was very unlikely pathological.” She also was told that her symptoms and labs were normal and that she did not need to seek medical care or treatment, according to the complaint.
One morning she woke to discover she could not moved her left arm or leg and was taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital where she was seen for altered mental status and left-sided weakness.
A CT scan revealed “a large right anterior frontal/periventricular parenchymal hemorrhage with intraventricular extension, surrounding edema and mass effect on the right lateral ventricle, with midline shift to the left anteriorly,” the complaint states.
As a result, on Sept. 17, 2010, Silverstein “suffered severe neurological injury including, but not limited to, severe and permanent brain injury and hemiplegia,” the complaint states.
She was ultimately diagnosed with Polycythemia Vera, a chronic “myeloproliferative” blood disorder.
She is suing for malpractice.
Jim Leventhal and Molly L. Greenblatt, of Leventhal Brown & PUGA in Denver, represent Silverstein.