Robyn Frankel suffered from migraines and sought help from doctors. What she received was lifelong paralysis that left her mind sharp, but her movements and speech impaired. Doctors conducted an unnecessary invasive test on Ms. Frankel that caused a series of strokes that have taken away her livelihood and her mobility. Most upsetting is the fact that there was no need whatsoever to perform the dangerous test.
Unlike Hollywood portrayals, coma is not simply a state of deep sleep from which a person can recover upon awakening. Prolonged coma can lead to permanent brain damage and bodily weakness and atrophy. The longer a patient remains in coma, the more likely it becomes that he or she will suffer permanent negative consequences.
Coma Symptoms and Consequences
The Mayo Clinic explains that coma is not a single medical problem, but rather a set of symptoms that can be provoked by several factors. Lack of proper blood supply, as in the case of a stroke, insufficient oxygen from drowning, severe head trauma, brain tumors or infections can all result in a patient falling into a coma. In the most tragic cases, the cause of coma is entirely avoidable.
In Ms. Frankel’s case, doctors had misidentified an abnormal vein as a possible cause. Court records show that the doctor failed to check with Robyn’s primary care doctor for a status on her condition and ordered an angiogram, a procedure that carries significant risks. During the unnecessary procedure, a vasospasm resulting from the dye used in the angiogram caused her to suffer several strokes and fall into a coma that lasted two weeks.
Frankel’s medical records showed that her primary care doctor had cleared her for the next five to ten years as her migraines had substantially improved. She was doing well and had no need for the test that caused her coma and subsequent paralysis.
According to the Palo Alto Daily News, the court ordered the medical facility to pay $22 million to cover Frankel’s pain, suffering and ongoing need for medical assistance due to her disability. Sadly, California law reduces the award to only $250,000, not nearly enough to cover the expenses she will incur to care for her medical needs the rest of her life. She needs 24-hour care in her home and even has difficulty speaking, although her mind is sharp and clear. Her body has become a prison that she can never escape.
If you or a person you care about suffered injury because of an unnecessary medical procedure or other form of malpractice, contact our experienced attorneys right away. The law limits the time available to file suit, so it is important you act quickly. We will speak with you free of charge and help you determine if filing a claim for damages it the right action in your case.