Woman Sues Sheba for NIS 10m, Says Treatment Rendered Her Totally Disabled

Suit says respondent was negligent both in the treatment and during its administration.

A Givat Shmuel woman filed a NIS 10 million malpractice suit against Sheba Medical Center and the Health Ministry last week, claiming that their negligence in treating her brain hemorrhage made her totally disabled.

The complainant, a computer systems analyst at Discount Bank, has been recognized by the National Insurance Institute as suffering from a 100 percent disability. The suit says she is suffering grave cognitive damage and incontinence, and requires constant custodial care.

"The respondents' erroneous diagnosis and/or treatment was among other things negligent, scornful and unprofessional and displayed a lack of concern and appalling irresponsibility toward the claimant," the suit says.

The woman, 53, came to the hospital in May 2008 complaining of pain on the left side of her head and blurred vision.

A CT examination about two hours later detected a brain hemorrhage. A neurosurgeon examined her and found her fully conscious, aware of the time and place. The medical team decided to treat her with heparin, an anticoagulant, if further examination found no worsening of the bleeding.

The next morning, after beginning the heparin treatment, the patient's condition worsened. Another CT test showed that the bleeding had increased, but the doctors continued with the heparin, causing greater bleeding, she claims.

Another examination about two hours later found the complainant sleepy and in cognitive decline. After consulting the head of the stroke unit and a senior neurosurgeon, it was decided to continue the anticoagulant treatment until the lab results came in.

At a later examination the doctors noted the woman's declining cognitive state and started respiration procedures. But the heparin was stopped only at 1 P.M. after the lab results came in. The patient then needed an operation to drain the blood from her brain.

"It's enough to glance at the sequence of events to understand that respondent 1 (the hospital or medical staff ) was negligent both in the treatment and during its administration in various ways, such as not providing a blood test, not checking why the blood test was delayed and continuing the heparin administration," the suit says.

The hospital was also allegedly negligent in not holding a consultation of blood experts early in the morning and not stopping the anticoagulant treatment. "During all those hours of administering heparin despite clear evidence of the increased bleeding, the hemorrhaging was significantly aggravated by continuing the heparin overdose," the suit says.

"The complainant will suffer physical, mental and cognitive disability for her entire life, including chronic pain, psychological treatment, pills and diapers. She has turned from a career woman in the prime of her life into a person requiring custodial nursing care, all because of respondent 1's negligence and respondent 2's (the Health Ministry's ) lack of supervision."

The medical center said it had not received the suit yet and would respond after studying it.