Mother Alleges Doctor Broke for Concussion Protocol, Leading to Serious Brain Injury

Oct 13, 2017

The mother of a high school football player in the state of Oklahoma has sued a pediatrician, alleging that he released her son “to play contact sports without further evaluation,” leading to a more serious brain injury.
Plaintiff Jennifer Thomas is the mother of R.W., who in the fall of 2016, as a 14-year-old freshman, tried out for and made the Haskell High School football team. R.W. played running back, linebacker and participated on special teams.
As the season was getting underway, R.W. began experiencing headaches, nausea, and vomiting. Thereafter, he went to see his pediatrician, Dr. Kevin Francis Wade. Dr. Wade diagnosed R.W. as having a viral illness. When R.W. returned, still experiencing headaches, nausea, and vomiting, Dr. Wade made the same diagnosis, but discussed with Thomas “the possibility” that her son was suffering from a concussion, according to the complaint.
A CT scan was performed on September 15, which revealed a cystic legion. Dr. Wade placed R.W. on concussion protocol, from September 18 to September 22. R.W. returned to Dr. Wade on September 23 and was found to “have progressed successfully through the ‘concussion protocol,’” according to the complaint. R.W. returned to play that very night.
The following week, on September 30, R.W. dressed and played an entire game again Henryetta High School. During that game, he carried the ball and absorbed a hit, which caused an arachnoid cyst on his brain to rupture, according to the complaint. R.W. was then airlifted to St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa, where he underwent emergency brain surgery.
In the complaint, Thomas alleged that her son suffered the injury “due to the acts and omissions of Dr. Wade and Wade Pediatrics” because he “released R.W. to play contact sports without further evaluation.”
The plaintiff added that “in this case, it is not within the scope of practice for a general pediatrician to make the decision to return to contacts sports without an opinion from a pediatric neurosurgeon. Had this referral been made, the trauma would have been prevented.”
In sum, Dr Wade’s actions allegedly “departed from accepted standards of medical care.”
Furthermore, the defendants’ medical treatment of R.W. “was not only negligent, but also grossly negligent, reckless and in disregard of the safety of R.W. and the public at large.”
The complaint seeks “an award of exemplary or punitive damages.”


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