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State board reprimands doctor who was found negligent by high court

State board reprimands doctor who was found negligent by high court

A doctor found negligent by the state Supreme Court for failing to offer a test to a patient who later had a stroke was reprimanded Wednesday by the Wisconsin Medical Examining Board.

The court’s ruling last year against Dr. Therese Gesteland is expected to result in a bill this year to rewrite the state’s informed consent law for doctors.

In 2003, 48-year-old Thomas Jandre went to the emergency room at St. Joseph’s Hospital in West Bend.

Gesteland, then known as Therese Bullis, did a physical exam and ordered a CT scan. She ruled out a stroke and diagnosed Jandre with Bell’s palsy, inflammation of a nerve that controls facial movement.

Eleven days later, Jandre had a stroke that caused permanent damage. An ultrasound showed his carotid artery was 95 percent blocked.

Gesteland, in not telling Jandre he could have had a carotid ultrasound when she saw him, was negligent, the Supreme Court said. The test could have led to treatments to prevent the stroke.

The ruling upheld a $2 million jury award to Jandre in 2008. Gesteland wasn’t negligent in her diagnosis of Bell’s palsy, the jury found.

The medical board’s reprimand doesn’t affect Gesteland’s ability to practice but goes on her permanent record. The board also fined her $300.

After last year’s court ruling, the Wisconsin Medical Society, the Wisconsin Hospital Association and the Wisconsin chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians said it will be hard for doctors to know how much to tell patients about diagnoses they have ruled out.

The groups hope to get a bill introduced in the Legislature this spring to clarify the informed consent law, said Mark Grapentine, a medical society lobbyist.

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