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Overdose of Heparin Leads to Stroke

$420,878 – Medical Malpractice/Negligence

Facts

A Veteran was overdosed on 90 mg of heparin twice daily instead of the typical dose of 30 mg every 12 hours. This led to a hemorrhagic stroke caused by over-anticoagulation.

On March 6th, plaintiff, a 62-year-old veteran of the United States Army, was admitted to the Veterans Administration Center for treatment of peripheral vascular disease and renal insufficiency. During his hospitalization, his prescription for Coumadin was discontinued in anticipation of diagnostic studies. When discharged from the hospital on March 26th, plaintiff was put on a low-molecular weight heparin in a prescription of 90 milligrams twice daily. The Physicians’ Desk Reference (PDR) indicates that a typical dose of this drug in 30 milligrams every 12 hours, and that excessive doses are known to cause hemorrhage and bleeding.

On March 26th, the plaintiff began to experience slurred speech. A CT scan and MRI revealed numerous hemorrhagic lesions in the left temporal region. Plaintiff was diagnosed as having suffered a hemorrhagic cerebral vascular accident (stroke) caused by over-anticoagulation.

Allegations/Contentions

The V.A. over-medicated the plaintiff and he suffered a stroke. His wife sued for loss of consortium. The VA admitted liability but disputed the nature and extent of plaintiff’s injuries.

Injuries/Damages

Plaintiff’s doctors testified that he suffered a stroke, exacerbating his other health problems and causing decreased processing speed, problems with attention, significant impairment of his visual-spatial construction ability, concentration and mental flexibility problems, memory and executive functioning problems, and difficulty functioning in any environment that is other than completely structured.

Special Notes

This was a Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) case and was tried before a judge with no jury.


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