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DEOCAMPO v. AHN, M.D.

This case involves alleged delay in the diagnosis and treatment of an epidural hematoma that resulted in the patient’s paralysis. The patient appeared at the emergency room complaining of symptoms consistent with a heart attack. He was treated by the emergency room physician for a heart attack and the treatment included “clot-busting” medication. Thereafter, a dispute centered on whether this medication had the potential to cause a bleed near the spinal cord sufficient to cause paralysis.

The jury agreed with the cardiologist defendant that such a claimed complication was extremely rare, if even possible, and that no clinical evidence existed for a suspicion prior to the patient being sent for appropriate diagnostic studies and then onto surgery for evacuation of the epidural hematoma. The case resulted in a defense verdict for the cardiologist. Plaintiff was paralyzed and totally disabled with claimed loss of earnings and medical care needs exceeding $4 million.