Fatal Heart Attack Lawsuit Settles for $1.1 Million

2011 Medical Malpractice Trial Report

Failure to recognize changes on EKG leads to myocardial infarction

The plaintiff’s decedent was a 51-year-old man who died on 4/29/06 from a myocardial infarction. On 4/17/06, the decedent presented to the Emergency Department with shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. The defendant physician noted his symptoms and ordered a CXR and EKG. The CXR was normal, but the EKG was abnormal. Despite the abnormal EKG, the defendant discharged the patient home with a diagnosis of dyspnea (resolved). No further testing or cardiac consult was ordered to evaluate the abnormal EKG.

On 4/24/06, the decedent followed up with the defendant PCP who noted that the decedent had a one week history of a “breathing problem” with SOB and chest tightness that brought him to the emergency room. He noted that testing in the ER was reportedly normal. This was not confirmed by the defendant and he did not repeat the EKG.

The defendant diagnosed the decedent with unspecific asthma. No further testing was ordered or performed. On 4/29/06, the decedent was found unresponsive at home and rushed to the Emergency Department where he was pronounced dead. Autopsy revealed a 100% occlusion of his left anterior descending artery, 95% occlusion of his right coronary artery and 50% occlusion of his left main artery. The final cause of death was acute myocardial infarction secondary to severe coronary artery disease.

Plaintiff’s expert testified that the EKG was clearly abnormal and required admission to the hospital for a full cardiac workup which would have diagnosed the underlying cardiac condition and allowed for treatment before his fatal MI on 4/29/06.

The defendants and experts were prepared to testify that the EKG done in the Emergency Department was not abnormal and that his symptoms were consistent with an upper respiratory illness. Trial began on October 31, 2011 and after 4 days the matter was settled for $1,100,000.

Lubin & Meyer represented the plaintiff in this heart attck death lawsuit involving EKG data.

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