Amy L. Anderson and Christopher A. Leach defended a stroke case resulting in a hung jury

Tried 1/4/24  - 1/25/24

Amy L. Anderson and Christopher A. Leach defended a stroke neurologist from University of Illinois Hospital who was acting as a telestroke neurologist for a community hospital.  Plaintiff, 51, awoke at 1230 AM with room spinning dizziness and left sided numbness.  His wife called for an ambulance and a stroke was suspected as he had suffered a stroke about a year before.  He was taken to the local community hospital, a primary stroke center, and a stroke alert was called.  The ER doctor assessed him and found that he was a zero on the stroke scale.  The stroke neurologist was called, and based on the assessment in the ER, she did not order tPA as he was a zero on the stroke scale.  After admission to the hospital, an MRI taken showed the plaintiff had suffered a left lateral medullary stroke and he developed Wallenburg syndrome.  His deficits included right sided paresthesia, inability to walk, inability to swallow resulting in a feeding tube being placed and difficulty talking.

Plaintiff argued that the stroke neurologist should have directed the ER doctor to get the patient out of bed to walk to test for gait ataxia.  They opined that plaintiff would have been unable to walk and that tPA was warranted and would have reduced his deficits.  Defense argued that getting a patient out of bed to walk is not part of the NIH stroke scale and not safe for a patient with room spinning dizziness.  They also argued that plaintiff contributed to his stroke as he failed to take the medications and treatment prescribed after his first stroke the year before.

Plaintiffs asked for $30-50 million in damages.  The jury deliberated for 3.5 days and could not reach a verdict.  Jurors indicated later that the break down was 1 for plaintiffs outright, 3 for plaintiffs but reduced for contributory negligence and the remainder for the defense with some finding the plaintiff was more than 50% at fault.  A high low settlement agreement was reached during deliberations with a hung jury tied to the low.