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Failure to Diagnose dissecting aorta / aortic dissection

As an experienced Baltimore, Maryland medical malpractice lawyer, I am frequently asked to comment on malpractice cases from around the county. Recently, a Philadelphia jury awarded $2.185 million in a medical malpractice case in which it was alleged that a hospital and two emergency room doctors failed to timely read x-rays. The patient came to the ER at 8:35 am after experiencing chest, back and leg pains. He was quickly seen by a doctor, who ordered x-rays. After the x-rays were done, the emergency room doctor should have reviewed them before they were sent to radiology, but that did not happen. Because no one looked x-rays that day, no one realized that they showed a dissecting aortic aneurysm, a condition in which blood gets between the layers of the aorta wall and fills up the sac surrounding the heart, tightening it until the heart is not able to pump. The patient died at 7:05 pm from the undiagnosed condition.

The key to these cases, in addition to proving that the standard of care is to timely and properly read the x-ray, is to make sure that the there would have been enough time to do the life-saving surgery that this man needed. That requires a cardiothoracic or vascular surgery expert. In this case, this man had a condition that can kill him in minutes. The doctors in this case needed to quickly act on his complaints and not let the x-rays sit around in the hospital while this man died. It is a true tragedy.

I have handled a large number of medical malpractice cases in Baltimore, Maryland and other places involving emergency room mistakes. Some of the cases I have handled have involved medical malpractice due to the failure to properly evaluate a heart attack, failure to properly evaluate a drug reaction, failure to properly perform a suicide assessment, failure to diagnose a pulmonary embolism, failure to diagnose an abdominal aortic aneurysm, and failure to diagnose an aortic dissection which is exactly what happened in this case. To see some of the cases I have handled, click here .

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