Daniel F. Ryan, III and Brett M. Littman obtained a defense verdict in the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas on behalf of an emergency department physician in a medical malpractice action.

In November 2002, the plaintiff presented to the emergency department with neurological complaints, including right-sided weakness and difficulty with speech. The defendant-physician ordered diagnostic tests and lab studies to determine the cause of the symptoms and, with the help of consulting neurologists, formulated a treatment plan.

The plaintiff contended that the physician failed to administer tPA, a “clot-busting” medication. According to the plaintiffs, this medication would have prevented the development of a stroke, which he ultimately suffered and which left him with significant disabilities.

The defense presented extensive expert testimony to the jury that the plaintiff was absolutely not a candidate to receive tPA, given his presentation, which included rapidly improving symptoms. These symptoms occurred, resolved, and then re-occurred. The defense also explained that emergency physicians often rely on consultations with specialists, such as neurologists, and that the defendant was justified in relying on the expertise of consultants in order to establish a treatment plan.

After a short deliberation, the jury found that the physician complied with the standard of care and was not negligent.