In this episode of Face the Jury, we are joined by clients Stefan and Janet Lane as they share their story behind how a misdiagnosed stroke resulted in catastrophic life-altering injuries and how they started to navigate a medical malpractice lawsuit against one of the largest healthcare organizations in Georgia—Emory Johns Creek.
B.E.F.A.S.T & Early Onset of Stroke
Stefan, 73 years old, is a retired contractor that specialized in commercial renovations and worked part-time as a vocational teacher. He was also a talented musician. He grew up playing instruments his whole life, specifically the bass playing for multiple bands and open mic nights until the night he had the stroke. His wife, Janet, was a teacher in Fulton County for over 40 years. Even after retirement, Janet keeps busy with tutoring and advocating for students in the public school system.
One night after playing in a concert, Stefan experienced neurological symptoms of a stroke on his left side. Janet immediately recognized these signs and drove him to the ER at Emory Johns Creek. At that time, a stroke alert was called, but Stefan was not seen by a neurologist. Less than a half hour later, his left-sided neurological symptoms returned to normal — meaning he had a “mini-stroke” that had resolved.
Misdiagnosed & Mismanaged Ischemic Stroke
It took two days for doctors to gather a definitive diagnosis that Stefan suffered an ischemic stroke, where the blood supply to part of the brain was reduced or impacted, causing a decrease in oxygen and nutrients. One of the symptoms of an ischemic stroke is paralysis or numbness of the face, arm, or leg, often affecting one side of the body, like Stefan.
Due to the medical negligence of Stefan’s mismanaged and misdiagnosed stroke, he now has hemiparesis on the left side, which is the weakness or inability to move one side of your body. He can walk small distances at home with a hammy walker. He can no longer write, type, or play his favorite instruments.
Stroke Standard of Care
Strokes are a time-sensitive emergency. The primary treatment for a patient experiencing a stroke is tPa, a chemical that dissolves clots by opening a blocked blood vessel and storing blood flow. A thrombectomy is another treatment option if medications don’t work, requiring surgery to remove a blood clot and restore blood flow. But after a specific time frame, these treatments are no longer effective. The standard of care for a patient experiencing stroke was not met with Stefan, which led to his severe condition.
After the diagnosis, the medical chief of staff privately apologized to Janet, admitting they had made a mistake. Janet waited weeks after the incident for Stefan’s condition to improve in acute care therapy. Once they realized there was no change in his condition, she asked for medical records and began contacting law firms to see their options as victims of medical malpractice.
Listen to part one of Stefan and Janet’s episode here and stay tuned for part two of their conversation with our host, Lloyd Bell.
“Face the Jury” is a podcast dedicated to confronting the issues involving medical malpractice in America– what it is, how to spot it and how to protect you and your family from medical negligence.