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Doctor stopped stroke protocol too soon – $2.5 Million Verdict

Devona Johnson, 45, collapsed at home. When she came to, she had a vision field cut and mental confusion. EMS brought her to a Primary Stroke Certified hospital where the stroke protocol was activated and she was evaluated by an emergency medicine physician, Dr. Aamir Latif. Johnson was well within the stroke treatment window. After evaluating Johnson and reviewing a negative CT Scan, Latif shut down the stroke protocol and assumed she had a migraine. An MRI ordered hours later demonstrated she suffered a significant posterior cerebral artery ischemic stroke. By the time the MRI was read, the stroke treatment window had passed.

Latif defended on two grounds. First, he argued that the signs and symptoms were more consistent with migraine than stroke. Second, he argued that tPA (the clot busting drug that was never given) works less than 50 percent of the time and thus plaintiff could not meet her causation burden. Plaintiff demonstrated that Latif shut the stroke protocol down too early, failed to perform an adequate NIH stroke scale exam, ordered a nurse not to perform her own stroke scale exam, and failed to employ a differential diagnosis analysis. Plaintiff also demonstrated through literature and radiology that her stroke would have responded to tPA.

[18-T-118]

Type of action: Medical malpractice

Injuries alleged: Brain damage; permanent partial vision loss

Name of case: Devona Johnson v. Aamir Latif, MD

Court: Fairfax Circuit Court

Case no.: 2017-12782

Tried before: Jury

Name of judge: Judge Randy I. Bellows

Date resolved: Sept. 22, 2018

Special damages: None claimed at trial

Verdict or settlement: Verdict

Amount: $2,500,000

Attorneys for plaintiff: Scott M. Perry and Mike D. Charnoff, Arlington

Plaintiff’s experts: Deborah White, MD (emergency medicne); Bruce Janiak, MD (emergency medicine); David Katz, MD (neuro-opthomology); James Bicksel, MD (neurology); David Hebda, PhD (neuropsychiatry); Christine Osborn, RN (nursing)

Defendant’s experts: Paul Offerman, MD (emergency medicine); Adrian Goldszmidt, MD (neurology)

Insurance carrier: ProAssurance