Family awarded $40 million following a man’s stroke which, they allege, could have been prevented

By Claire Wolters | Fact-checked by Jessica Wrubel
Published March 11, 2024

Key Takeaways

  • An Illinois man suffers aphasia from a stroke he experienced in 2015.

  • The family previously instigated a medical malpractice lawsuit, saying the man’s condition could have been prevented had doctors acted differently.

  • Now, the family is being awarded $40 million in damages.

A man is experiencing permanent medical damage from a stroke, which his lawyers say could have been prevented. Now, the family is receiving $40 million in damages. 

Antonio DeAngelo, an Illinois man who developed aphasia as a result of a stroke, sought medical care for high blood pressure in 2015. Rather than order him a lab test, blood work, or EKG, DeAngelo’s doctors sent him home for having flu-like symptoms, ABC7 Chicago reported. His family and lawyers allege the condition could have been prevented had his doctors taken other measures.[]

Jonathan Rosenfeld, founder of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers Chicago, a law firm that works on medical malpractice cases, says that prevention is often the first step in managing the physical (and at times legal) consequences of stroke.

“Doctors must be vigilant in managing stroke risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, and smoking,” Rosenfeld says. “Educating patients about lifestyle modifications, including diet, exercise, and medication compliance is essential in preventing recurrent strokes.”

For patients actively experiencing strokes, he adds that quick intervention is crucial. He encourages doctors to administer prompt and proper treatment to best protect a patient – and avoid risks of lawsuits. 

“Time is of the essence in stroke treatment, as administering appropriate medical interventions quickly can significantly mitigate the extent of damage and improve the patient's prognosis,” Rosenfeld explains.

He adds that interventions can include but are not limited to:

  • Being able to quickly assess a stroke.

  • Conduct Image studies, like CT scans or MRIs to determine the type of stroke and the location of the stroke in the body.

  • Know how and when to administer “clot-busting medications like tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) within the narrow therapeutic window to dissolve blood clots causing ischemic strokes.”[]

  • Know how and when to use interventions like mechanical thrombectomy, to remove the clot and restore blood flow to the brain.

 BE FAST in stroke intervention

A quick way for first responders – doctors or non-medical bystanders, who can call medical support – to initially assess if someone is experiencing a stroke is to look at the FAST, or BE FAST acronym, which stands for:[]

  • Balance: Can the person stand and balance normally? Are they having trouble with coordination?

  • Eyes: Is the person experiencing blurred vision or loss of vision in one or both eyes? Has this come on suddenly and without pain?

  • Face drooping: Does the face look droopy to one side? Are there changes in the person's eyes, and can the person smile normally?

  • Arm weakness: Is one arm weak or numb? Can the person lift their arms on their own? 

  • Speech difficulty: Can the person speak? If so, is their speech slurred? Are they making sense?

  • Time: If someone is at risk, don’t waste time in calling 911.

Perfection isn’t guaranteed

Unfortunately for patients, doctors, and lawyers, even a properly treated stroke may leave a patient with lasting complications.

While proper techniques and timely interventions can significantly reduce the risk of stroke-related injuries, it's important to acknowledge that medicine isn't infallible, and not all strokes are preventable,” Rosenfeld says. “However, adherence to evidence-based guidelines and best practices in stroke care can undoubtedly enhance patient outcomes and minimize the likelihood of preventable harm.”

In cases where patients suffer permanent disabilities from strokes, he says “it's imperative to conduct a thorough investigation to determine whether all appropriate measures were taken by the medical professionals involved.”

“If negligence or substandard care is found to have contributed to the patient's injuries, pursuing legal recourse may be necessary to hold responsible parties accountable and secure just compensation for the victim and their family,” Rosenfeld says.

What this means for you

Following proper stroke prevention and intervention measures is crucial in protecting patients, and protecting doctors from medical malpractice lawsuits.

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