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$3 Million Settlement for Misdiagnosed Medical Condition

Margaret Sperl, who was a nurse, presented to the emergency room at Lutheran General Hospital on April 5, 2004 complaining of weakness, loss of balance, hearing loss and an inability to ambulate 20 minutes earlier.

Dr. Alan Kumar, who was an emergency room doctor at Lutheran General at the time and employee of the Advocate Medical Group, improperly diagnosed her as suffering from a migraine headache when in fact she had suffered a transient ishemic attack (which is a precursor to a stroke). Five days later Margaret suffered a full stroke and passed away, leaving a husband and two minor children.

This case was previously rejected by a large national law firm before being accepted by Plaintiffs attorneys Peter Flowers and Craig Brown. Flowers and Brown represented Margaret’s estate on behalf of her husband, Richard Sperl, and their two minor children.

According to Brown and Flowers' investigation, if Dr. Kumar had properly diagnosed Margaret's condition on April 5, 2004, he would have referred her to a neurologist for a consult. That consult would have revealed that Margaret had a genetic condition called cardiomyopathy (seriously damaged and enlarged heart). Even with the best of care she would likely have had a significantly decreased life expectancy.

This condition is one that has resulted in the death of many young athletes around the country. Often times, there are no signs or symptoms that appear before the person suffers a massive stroke. There are many states considering mandatory heart testing of young athletes to ensure this dangerous condition does not exist before they participate in sports.

Although at 45, Margaret was not a young athlete, she also did not have any symptoms until April 5, 2004 and regularly worked out.

Flowers and Brown obtained a settlement of $3 million for Margaret Sperl’s estate ($2.75 million by Dr. Kumar’s insurer, $250,000 by Lutheran General Hospital).

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