Ore. woman sues hospital for diagnosing stroke as 'emotional problem'
The $3.1M lawsuit says she suffered brain damage after doctors let hours pass before treating her with clot-busting medication, and instead gave her Ativan
By Aimee Green
PORTLAND, Ore.— A woman who suffered a stroke is suing St. Vincent Medical Center for $3.1 million, claiming medical staff misdiagnosed her condition as an “emotional” problem and let precious hours pass before giving her clot-busting medication.
The suit, filed last week in Multnomah County Circuit Court, states that Kristine Haveman collapsed unconscious in her home on Nov. 25, 2012. Someone promptly called 911 at 8:51 a.m., and six minutes later an ambulance arrived. Haveman arrived at St. Vincent’s at 9:17 a.m. She was unresponsive.
According to the suit, emergency-room workers ordered a CT scan, which a doctor or doctors “misinterpreted as showing no problem.” She received no clot-busting medication, which is supposed to be administered within three to 4.5 hours of the beginning of a stroke, according to the suit.
The suit states a doctor or doctors thought Haveman was having a “purely emotional” problem, and she was given the anti-anxiety medication Ativan.
Haveman’s “stroke was allowed to continue untreated until sometime after 5:00PM when her true diagnosis was made by a neurologist who expressed surprise that the CT findings had been misinterpreted,” the suit reads.
The delay caused Haveman to suffer brain damage and damage to her central nervous system. The suit, filed by Portland attorney Jane Paulson, doesn’t offer more specifics about how the stroke has affected Haveman’s life.
Haveman is seeking $100,000 for medical bills, $1 million for lost earning capacity and $2 million for pain and suffering.
A spokesman from Providence Health & Services, which operates the hospital, declined to comment because of the pending litigation.
In addition to the hospital, the suit also lists as defendants: Dr. Kenneth Dirk, Dr. John Douglas Roll, and Oregon Health & Science University.