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$22M California Medical Malpractice Verdict to Woman Who is Now a Quadriplegic Following Unnecessary Angiogram

December 31, 1969

The Palo Alto Medical Foundation must pay a woman a $22 million California medical malpractice verdict after she had a stroke while undergoing an unnecessary angiogram in 2006 and became paralyzed. The plaintiff, Robyn Frankel, now 48, became a quadriplegic.

Frankel had been experiencing migraines when doctors at the foundation ordered the angiogram to look at an abnormal vein in her brain. The procedure was performed at Stanford Hospital & Clinics, which has since reached a separate California personal injury settlement with Frankel). According to her attorney, the vein was unrelated to the migraine and the procedure therefore unnecessary.

During the angiogram, after dye was injected into her brain's blood vessels, Frankel had a vasospasm and went into a coma. When she woke up about half a month later, she was paralyzed. She now needs 24-hour care and a wheelchair. She also has problems speaking. After the medical incident, Frankel and her husband got a divorce. They share two kids, ages 16 and 10.

According to the jury, the defendant's negligence contributed substantially to the harm that Frankel suffered. Of the $22 million verdict, approximately $16 million is for economic losses. $6 million is for human suffering. However, per the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act of 1975, that smaller amount will be lowered to $250,000.

"When serious injuries result from medical negligence, it is the patient who must suffer after the fact, along with their family," said Anaheim angiogram malpractice attorney Vincent Howard. "A victim shouldn't have to shoulder the burden of medical bills, lost wages, and perhaps even a lifetime of specialized care."

Angiography is a medical procedure that involves that creation of film or images of organs or blood vessels. Contrast dye is injected into the blood stream. Anesthesia is required.

An angiogram is performed by a surgeon and usually takes an hour. Although considered a low-risk procedure, it is still a surgery and complications can result, including blood vessel damage, allergic reactions to the dye, infection, X-ray radiation complications, stroke, heart attack, kidney damage, brain damage, heart attack, blood clots, artery damage, paralysis, and death. Some of these complications can occur because of Orange County, California medical mistakes, including surgical errors, inadequate pre-op or post-op care, anesthesia errors, or other acts of negligence.

While Orange County, California medical mistakes impact the victim the most, loved ones must also grapple with the pain and struggles of seeing their family member suffer and the losses and changes to their relationship that they must contend with. "You need to work with an experienced injury attorney that understands everything that you and your relatives are coping with during this challenging time," said Anaheim injury attorney Vincent Howard.

Unfortunately, medical mistakes happen all the time. Nursing negligence, surgical malpractice, medication mistakes, gynecological malpractice, dental malpractice, failure to diagnose, wrong diagnosis, failure to obtain informed consent, and other types of medical errors cause serious injuries and claim lives every year. Sometimes the incident is an honest mistake caused by inadequate training, inexperience, or poor systems and procedures that have been implemented. Other instances may be a result of medical carelessness.

Howard Law and Attorney Vincent Howard represent California medical malpractice clients in Orange County, San Bernardino County, Riverside County, and Los Angeles County.

Menlo Park woman receives $22 million medical malpractice verdict, Mercury News, March 21, 2012

The Palo Alto Medical Foundation

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