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USF dean accuses doctors, hospital of misdiagnosing stroke

in Local Courts by
Mary Beth Wallace

A misdiagnosis has led University of South Florida dean to take the doctors and hospital responsible to court.

Wallace is suing the doctors and the hospital, claiming to have lost the ability to properly continue her job as Vice President of Student Affairs.

On May 15, 2015, during a speech at USF, bystanders noticed a change in Wallace’s mental status. She was lowered to the ground, where it was found she had slurred speech and weakness in her right side.

After she had begun vomiting, a participant called EMS, which then informed Florida Hospital Tampa that Wallace was on stroke alert.

Wallace was unresponsive and intubated before arriving at the hospital.

An emergency room physician evaluated Wallace, and immediately ordered a CT scan; the scan was examined by multiple doctors. Dr. David Decker checked the scans and concluded that Wallace suffered from fainting, rather than a stroke.

Less than two hours after the incident, Wallace regained responsiveness. She could move her limbs normally. However, her heart rate wasn’t steady.

Two hours passed and the slurred speech returned. Wallace began vomiting again, and her heart rate dropped.

An MRI performed on Wallace revealed an area appearing to lack blood supply in her brain. This was observed by Dr. Charles Readdy, the results were reported to Decker. Decker recommended “no further treatment.”

The emergency room physician documented a stroke – scored at a 7 – six hours after the initial incident. Minutes later, Wallace suffered another stroke, this time scoring an 8.

From there, she was admitted to the ICU.

Since the strokes, Wallace has suffered “deficits in attention span, rapid visual scanning, integrity of and access to semantic language networks, and inefficient problem-solving under conditions of limited external structure.”

These deficits have prevented her from being able to return to work as Vice President of Student Affairs at the University of South Florida.

By failing to properly review all scans, the suit claims Drs. Readdy and Decker were negligent. Between the two doctors and the hospital, 13 counts are being held against them.

Wallace worked at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee. She is no longer at USF.

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