What can be done if my nephew had a stroke on the job but the nurse failed to recognize the signs and now he has been permanently affected by it?

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What can be done if my nephew had a stroke on the job but the nurse failed to recognize the signs and now he has been permanently affected by it?

The nurse on staff gave him a drug test which was negative. She called his wife to come get him (it was 7 a.m.). She suggested the wife take him to the doctor. The wife went into the clinic but could not get a doctor to look at him. When she returned to the vehicle, he was lying on the ground unable to move. She then called a nearby relative who came, who said they should call an ambulance, which they did. By the time he got to the hospital and received diagnostic tests, it was too late to administer the stroke drug that prevents damage. He has been in a skilled nursing facility since with paralysis over half his bwas the company’s nurse negligent in not recognizing signs of stroke and not calling an ambulance

Asked on February 1, 2016 under Malpractice Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

IF you can show that under the circumstances (e.g. the symptoms your nephew showed and complained of at work) that the nurse was negligent, or unreasonably careless, in not spotting the symptoms of a stroke and that IF had she done so, it would have made a difference (e.g. he'd have gotten straightaway to an ER and gotten the proper medicine), then your nephew and his *wife* may be abe to recover compensation for the future medical costs and for his disability. But you'd also have to show that the company, via the nurse, had taken on some obligation to protect employess against non-work-related conditions, since normally, an employer would most definitely not be liable for a stroke unless the employer actually someone caused it (e.g. by hazardous conditions or chemicals). It is possible that if the nurse was regularly utilized by employees for non-work issues that in that case, employees were encouragde to rely on her and so a duty was undertaken; but that is far from certain--if she was only there for work-related injuries, the employer and likely she as well would not be liable. In short, you *might* have a case, but there are serious obstacles. It would be worth her while for your nephew's wife to actually meet with a malpractice or personal injury attorney to discuss the matter in more detail. As stated, though, there are several hurdles to jump through, staring with the basis idea that it's difficult to hold someone liable for a medical condition they did not cause, unless they were in some way a medical professional evaluating or treating the patient in the course of their job--and you still need to then prove negligence and causality.


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