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Nurses Error Causes Permanent Brain Damage For Woman In Idaho

The Idaho Supreme Court recently upheld a $3.85 million verdict in damages in a medical malpractice case where a nurse’s error caused the victim to suffer a stroke and permanent brain damage. 

Idaho Woman Suffered an Air Embolism and Stroke

Joyce Herrett was admitted to St. Luke’s Magic Valley Regional Medical Center in December 2013. As part of Ms. Herrett’s treatment, a central venous catheter (CVC) was installed in order to deliver fluids and medications directly to her bloodstream. 

On Christmas Eve, Ms. Herrett was scheduled to be discharged. However, Ms. Herrett still had the CVC in her neck. Ms. Herrett asked the nurse about it and the nurse talked to the treating doctor, then removed the CVC. Unfortunately for Ms. Herrett, the nurse did not properly remove the CVC. 

The nurse had never removed a CVC before. When removing the CVC, the nurse did not have Ms. Herrett lay flat on her back, and instead removed the central line while the patient was sitting upright in a wheelchair. 

Ms. Herrett began to complain about difficulty breathing. A rapid response team was called and Ms. Herrett was transferred to the ICU. Ms. Herrett suffered an air embolism and a stroke. Following the stroke, Ms. Herrett reportedly had trouble caring for herself, suffered from anxiety, and had permanent brain damage. 

Medical Malpractice Case

Joyce Herrett and her husband Rodney filed a lawsuit against St. Luke’s. After the trial, a jury awarded the Herretts $3,775,864.21 in damages. St. Luke’s appealed the decision claiming the jury instructions regarding “recklessness” was inaccurate and the court erred in admitting expert testimony that was outside the scope of disclosures made in discovery. 

The Idaho Supreme Court upheld the almost $3.8 million verdict, saying the jury instructions were an accurate statement of the law and that St. Luke’s had opened the door to allowing the expert witness testimony by asking questions outside the scope of the disclosure on cross-examination. 

Stroke Malpractice in Philadelphia

A stoke occurs when there is an interruption in the blood supply to the brain. Without oxygen, the patient can suffer brain damage. Time is of the essence in stroke attacks, with minutes marking the difference between recovery and permanent damage. Signs and symptoms of a stroke include:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or difficulty understanding speech
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance, or lack of coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

Fast diagnosis and treatment gives patients the best outcome after a stroke. Delayed diagnosis and delayed treatment to a patient who is showing signs and symptoms of a stroke may be the basis for a medical malpractice claim. 

If you or a loved one suffered a stroke caused by a doctor, nurse, or healthcare facility’s negligence, talk to experienced Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyers. The skilled medical malpractice attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian fight to get compensation for injured patients. Contact our law office online or by calling (800) 529-6162.

About the Author

Briggs Bedigian
Briggs Bedigian

H. Briggs Bedigian (“Briggs”) is a founding partner of Gilman & Bedigian, LLC.  Prior to forming Gilman & Bedigian, LLC, Briggs was a partner at Wais, Vogelstein and Bedigian, LLC, where he was the head of the firm’s litigation practice.  Briggs’ legal practice is focused on representing clients involved in medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. 


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