Articles Tagged with cardiac malpractice

A Salt Lake City jury last month awarded $2.9 million to the family of a 55 year-old man who died after physicians failed to diagnose and treat a life-threatening heart condition.  After developing chest pains one evening – which quickly spread to his abdomen – the man presented to a clinic where he was seen by a Physician’s Assistant (PA).  The PA diagnosed him with constipation and discharged him with instructions to drink a bottle of over-the-counter magnesium citrate and take a suppository.

Nine days later, the man returned to the clinic after being awakened by sudden onset of sweating and severe heartburn which, again, radiated to his abdomen.  He also was found to have high blood pressure on exam.  Nevertheless, he was again diagnosed with constipation and instructed to increase his daily intake of fruits and vegetables and to follow up in two months.  Four days after this second visit to the clinic, the man passed away while at his home.  An autopsy determined that he had died of aortic dissection, a serious condition in which the inner layer of the aorta, the large blood vessel branching off of the heart, tears.

The lawsuit alleged that the healthcare providers at the clinic breached the applicable standards of acceptable medical care by, among other things, failing to perform a chest x-ray, failing to perform an EKG, and failing to send the man to the emergency room.  The jury found that the man was 30% at fault, presumably because he could have gone to an emergency room on his own but chose not to do so.

A Connecticut jury has awarded more than $1.3 million in a medical malpractice case. In the case, the plaintiff sued her oncologists alleging that they treated her for years for the wrong form of cancer, which led to the removal of part of her intestines and colon.

What makes the case especially unusual is that the case included a claim for damages on behalf of the woman’s longtime partner who had joined the woman in a civil union . In the litigation, a judge threw out the partner’s claims, holding that while the woman had been partners for more than 20 years they were not legally joined at the time of the alleged negligence.

If such a case is brought in Maryland, it will be interesting to see what the result is. Maryland’s wrongful death statute, section 3-904 of the Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland, a copy of which is below, allows claims for by a parent, spouse or child of the deceased person. The claim is for emotional distress and financial loss due to the death of family member. These are the most common type of wrongful death claim, as there is frequently a parent, spouse or child of the deceased alive to pursue such a case. The term “spouse” is not defined in the section where the statute is contained, so one certainly could argue that a person who participates in a lawful civil union ceremony is a “spouse” for purposes of the wrongful death act. If that argument doesn’t work, the Maryland wrongful death act includes a provision to allow for economic losses by certain people if there is no parent, spouse or child of the deceased. Those claims are for people related to the deceased by blood or marriage. Again, it can be argued that “marriage” is not defined, so that could cover a person who participates in a lawful civil union ceremony. It’s only a matter of time before this is tested.

As an experienced Baltimore, Maryland medical malpractice lawyer, I have handled many wrongful death cases on behalf of parents, spouses and children of the deceased.

We handle cases like these all of the time in my practice.

 

Contact Andrew G. Slutkin with further questions or inquiries at 410-385-2786

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There has been a lot of publicity lately about a doctor at St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson, Maryland, that supposedly implanted cardiac stents that may not have been necessary. The publicity started after St. Joseph Medical Center sent out letters to 369 former patients stating that a review of surgeries by Dr. Mark Midei revealed that Dr. Midei may have told these people that they had severe coronary artery blockages that they actually didn’t have, and then recommend and performed stent surgery on these people when it was not necessary. Usually, such stents are only placed in people who have blockages of 70% or more.

In the article, a women is quoted who was told that she had a 90% blockage and underwent stent surgery as a result, but after getting a letter discovered that she only had a 10% blockage and didn’t need the surgery. Not only did she undergo unnecessary surgery, but she incorrectly believed she had severe cardiac disease and now has to take blood thinners for life due to the stent.

There are clearly a lot of unanswered questions here. Who was reading the heart scans and incorrectly interpreting / reporting on them, why did Dr. Midei not pick up on this, why did St. Joseph Medical Center not pick up on this earlier, were there financial incentives for any of these parties that gave them incentive to do this, etc.

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