$750,000 Verdict In Suit Alleging Failure to Diagnose Brain Bleed.

Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia County, Pa.
October Term, 2002.

Havlicek v. Graduate Hospital, No 9906-2354

In January of 1998, 24 year old Vanessa Young entered Graduate Hospital under the care of Dr. O'Brien for routine back surgery. During the surgery, the dura mater was nicked, a known risk of surgery. O'Brien patched the tear; however, after surgery, it was apparent that spinal fluid was leaking from the patch. Four days later, Young was scheduled for a second surgery to repair the leak. Before the second surgery took place, Young developed profound weakness in her left arm. Rather than recognizing the potential seriousness of Young's new symptoms and requesting a full neurological evaluation, O'Brien determined that she had a brachial plexus problem and proceeded with the scheduled surgery. After surgery Young suffered a series of seizures. Defendant Pravin Vasoya, M.D., a neurological resident at Graduate Hospital who was found not responsible for Young's death, was consulted about Young's seizures. Upon consultation, Vasoya noted the need for an MRI and CT scan. O'Brien left the hospital that night without leaving instructions about Young's treatment with the hospital staff. A CT scan was finally performed nine hours after surgery, showing a massive bleed in Young's brain. She was transferred to Hahnemann University Hospital where the doctors determined that she was brain dead. Young was pronounced dead on January 7, 1998. An autopsy revealed a blood clot in her brain, a cerebral venous thrombosis, which was the ultimate cause of her death.

Plaintiffs alleged that O'Brien's misdiagnosis of Young's neurological problem led to a delay in her treatment and caused her death.

Injury Claim: Cerebral Venous Thrombosis leading to stroke and death.

Result: $750,000 jury verdict. Defendant Evan O'Brien, M.D. of Graduate Hospital, was found 100% liable for the death of Young.

Plaintiff's Attorneys:
Stewart J. Eisenberg and Brian C. Hall, of Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Defendant's Attorneys:
E. Chandler Hosmer III for Dr. O'Brien; Suzanne Bachovin for Dr. Vasoya.