P. B.'s Story

R. B., as Special
Administrator of the
Estate of P. B., deceased,
David Feerst, M.D.,
Defendant. In his malpractice lawsuit filed on December 30, 1999, Mr. R. B. claimed that Dr. Feerst failed to diagnose an impending stroke in his 60-year-old wife on two occasions during March of 1998. First of all, Mrs. B had a history of hypertension and had undergone a left carotid endarterectomy on June 23, 1992, and then again on July 21, 1997. On March 22, 1998, during a visit to the ER at Northwest Community Hospital, she was diagnosed with pneumonia and was prescribed Levaquin (levofloxacin, an antibiotic) to be taken one time a day, but mistakenly had taken four in the previous twenty-four hours instead of one, before seeing Dr. Feerst at his office the following day on March 23, 1998. During that visit, Mr. B reported that his wife had also awakened that morning unable to form sentences, was slurring words and was very groggy, and Dr. Feerst diagnosed her with Levaquin overdose, told her to discontinue its use for twenty-four hours, and also prescribed a potassium supplement and made another appointment for the following 25th.

During that visit on March 25, 1998, Mr. and Mrs. B reported that she was now unable to finish her thoughts and her words were mumbled by the end of a sentence, and Mr. B told Dr. Feerst that her the right side of her mouth had started to droop during the previous day and Dr. Feerst diagnosed her with Bell's palsy (facial nerve damage) and prescribed prednisone for it.

Unfortunately, the next day at 6:30 a.m., Mrs. B was admitted to Sherman Hospital following a massive stroke (cerebrovascular accident or CVA) where CT scans revealed a large left cerebral hemispheric infarct (tissue death) and a duplex scan of the carotid arteries indicated only a trickle flow of the left one that had stenosis (narrowing) of 99%. She died on March 30, 1998.

Mr. B claimed, among other things, that during the previous two appointments, Dr. Feerst misdiagnosed his wife's transient ischemic attacks (TIA, a mini-stroke, sometimes a precursor to the real thing) as Levaquin overdose, and Bell's palsy, without performing a neurological assessment or taking into consideration her pre-existing vascular condition for which she could have been hospitalized for medical or surgical treatment.

Dr. Feerst claimed that he met the standard of care as excessive Levaquin has the potential to cause the side effects she exhibited during the first visit, and that the Bell's palsy diagnosis during the second visit was proper because the signs and symptoms she exhibited were consistent with a peripheral nerve (seventh nerve) palsy which is usually not associated with strokes or TIA's.
Dr. Feerst made a good faith settlement of $900,000 on May 19, 2003.


Last Updated 5/05/04