Family Wins $4.8 Million in Medical Malpractice Suit Involving Misdiagnosis of Myocarditis

A Massachusetts jury recently has found that a doctor at a hospital in Boston was guilty of medical malpractice that caused the sudden death of a 23-year-old man, and awarded the family $4.8 million in the medical malpractice case.

Apparently, the patient visited the emergency room on August 14, 2006, with symptoms of a cough, fever, and chest pains. After a very brief visit with a physician at the hospital, the patient was diagnosed with bronchitis and discharged shortly thereafter. The physician prescribed antibiotics and painkillers and suggested he get plenty of rest. Sadly, early the next morning, the patient was found dead in his bed. A copy of the article regarding the medical malpractice case can be found here.

Medical examiners subsequently identified the patient’s cause of death as myocarditis, a virus that affects the heart muscle through infection and inflammation. An electrocardiogram would have revealed this condition. However, and despite the fact that an electrocardiogram is routine for patients complaining of chest pains, the physician did not order that test. The medical malpractice lawsuit alleged that the patient’s condition was preventable, had his physician spent the appropriate time caring for the patient.

Earlier this month, a Boston jury found the physician was negligent in his care and treatment of the patient, and that this was a substantial contributing factor in his death. The jury heard five days’ worth of evidence and ultimately concluded that the physician’s lack of attention to the patient contributed to the patient’s tragic death. The jury awarded $2.925 million to the patient’s mother as compensation for the loss of her son, and with interest that amount increased to $4.8 million.

When an individual suffers injury or even death as a result of the negligent actions of another person, those medical professionals who are responsible must be held accountable. The failure to diagnose the true and correct condition of a patient is a basis for a medical malpractice suit in Maryland and in other states. A doctor must follow appropriate standards of medical care in order to diagnose and treat a patient properly. When they do not, serious consequences can result, leaving patients and their families in tragic situations. This case is just one example of why a physician’s accuracy of a patient’s diagnosis is critical.

Not all misdiagnoses amount to medical malpractice – that is where the experienced medical malpractice attorneys at Silverman, Thompson, Slutkin & White come in to help. Medical malpractice cases are complex and require experienced attorneys who pay significant attention to detail in order to give victims the compensation they deserve. Our medical malpractice attorneys have handled dozens of similar cases and have helped victims obtain adequate compensation. No family should have to experience what this one Boston family went through, but when they do it is important to hold those accountable responsible.

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