Internist Obtains Dismissal Via Summary Judgment in Case Involving Alleged Failure to Diagnose Aneurysm

by | Jul 8, 2020 | Case Results, Medical Malpractice | 0 comments

Partner, Michael A. Sonkin, and Associates, Kathryn R. Baxter and Nicole S. Barresi’s motion on behalf of our client hospital and an individually named internist was granted in a Kings County case involving a married 35 year old father of three children, in which there were claims of a failure to diagnose an aneurysm which ruptured leading to intracerebral hemorrhage and death. The decedent had complained of headaches in the past, and in July 2014 the decedent presented to the internist with complaints of a headache that had lasted for “a couple of days.”  He was diagnosed with a tension headache and advised to take Tylenol and manage his blood pressure and stress. The decedent’s wife called the internist the following day and reported that the decedent’s headache had not resolved and the internist told him to go to the Hospital.  He allegedly suffered a ruptured aneurysm causing an intracerebral hemorrhage, underwent a coiling procedure, and ultimately died 11 days later.  The Court granted the defendants’ motion for summary judgment ruling that plaintiff’s expert affirmation by a neurosurgeon was speculative. In this case, plaintiff submitted the affirmation of a board certified neurosurgeon but the Court ruled that he could not opine as to appropriateness of the primary care and emergency medical care as that was outside his specialization and he laid no foundation to support his opinion.  The Court observed that while the expert had examined patients with headaches, he did so as a neurosurgeon with patients already determine to have a more serious etiology and therefore the expert laid no foundation for his opinions in this case.  The Court also noted that the expert relied on speculation that the decedent told our internist he was nauseous, and that the expert did not dispute that many people who complain of headaches and nausea actually have migraines and that triage rather than an immediate scan is the correct approach.  Therefore, the Court ruled the defendants’ met their prima facie burden of establishing there was no departure from the standard of care and plaintiff’s expert affirmation was speculative and therefore did not raise an issue for trial, dismissing the Complaint.