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Prolonged Coronary Angiogram Results In Leg Amputation, $2.2 Million Verdict

A Kentucky jury has awarded $2.2 million to a married couple after the husband’s pre-operative work-up went awry, resulting in the amputation of his right leg below the knee. In evaluating the man’s candidacy for a total knee replacement, a cardiac work-up showed a possible blockage in his coronary arteries. Accordingly, a coronary angiogram was performed.

A coronary angiogram a procedure that uses x-ray to determine if coronary arteries are blocked or narrowed, where they are blocked or narrowed and by how much. During the procedure, a catheter is inserted in your groin or arm and into an artery and up to the heart. Fluid is injected through the catheter so that arteries can be seen well on the x-ray and then x-ray photographs are taken as the fluid passed through the artery.

Approximately 16 minutes into the procedure it was determined that there was no blockage and that the previous test had yielded a “false positive.” Nevertheless, the procedure was continued for another 74 minutes. After the lengthy coronary angiogram, the man developed blood clots which traveled to his right leg, blocking the flow of blood to that limb and killing the tissue. As a result, the man’s leg was caused to be amputated below the knee. The award included $1.25 million for pain and suffering, $780,000 for medical expenses and $250,000 to the man’s wife for loss of consortium.