Failure to diagnose stroke prompts suit

Steve Gonzalez Dec. 30, 2004, 2:11am

Joseph Lamere filed a medical malpractice suit Dec. 28 against Alton Memorial Hospital physician Charles Sammis, M.D. alleging the doctor failed to properly diagnose the onset of a stroke. He is seeking to recover more than $50,000 in damages.

Lamere, represented by Edwardsville personal injury attorney John J. Hopkins, alleges that on Jan. 13, 2003, he was seen by Dr. Sammis at Alton Memorial for a CT (cat) scan and MRI of the brain for progressive lethargy, confusion and weakness in his left side.

"Then and there it became and was the duty of Charles Sammis M.D. to render patient care consistent with the medical requirements of the patient, and so as not to cause injury to patients, including Lamere," the complaint states.

Lamere alleges that Sammis reported all his labs and test results as normal. But on Jan. 19, 2003, Lamere returned to Altom Memorial's emergency again for symptoms of lethargy and confusion.

At that time Lamere was told he suffered a cerebral vascular event, or stroke.

Lamere alleges that since Dr. Sammis assumed the care and treatment of him, he was guilty of one or more of the wrongful acts and/or omissions.

Dr. Sammis "carelessly and negligently failed to properly and timely diagnose and treat the abnormalities noted on the CT and MRI brain scan of Jan. 13, 2003, and that Sammis deviated from the acceptable standards of medical practice from not immediatly referring to a neurologist for immediate treatment," according to the complaint.

Lamere claims that as a result of Dr. Sammis' alleged negligence, he suffered severe and permanent injuries--a stroke which left him totally disabled. He also suffered acute and prolonged physical and mental pain and suffering, and became liable for costly medical expenses and lost wages.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Andy Matoesian.

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