$1 Million Settlement in Heart Attack Death

2009 Medical Malpractice Trial Report

57 year-old man dies from acute myocardial infarction (heart attack)

The plaintiff’s decedent was a 57 year-old man who died on 4/24/2005 from an acute myocardial infarction. His past medical history was significant for non insulin dependent diabetes mellitus.

On 4/15/2005, he presented to the defendant, his primary care physician, with complaints of difficulty swallowing, white stuff on his tongue, elevated blood glucose levels, and not feeling quite right. The defendant noted the patient denied symptoms of a urinary tract infection or upper respiratory infection and prescribed Zithromax.

On 4/19/2005, the patient presented to the defendant with complaints of still feeling sick, continued increased glucose readings at home, bacteria on his tongue, and increased shortness of breath. The defendant performed an EKG at 11:03 a.m. for which he noted ST elevations of the inferior leads and ST depressions of the lateral leads. This EKG was later sent to Cape Cod Hospital. Subsequently, the defendant amended his note on the EKG to include that there Q waves present on the EKG and that the findings were suggestive of either a recent inferior myocardial infarction or just related to his age.

The defendant prescribed Nitroglycerin tablets as needed and planned to schedule a stress test and chest x-ray. The patient died five days later from an acute myocardial infarction before he received the stress test.

The plaintiff claimed that the EKG obtained on 4/19/2005, revealed an evolving acute myocardial infarction, and that the defendant failed to recognize and appreciate the significance of the EKG, failed to initiate the appropriate treatment, including but not limited to, administering aspirin, nitroglycerin, and oxygen, and failed to immediately transport the patient to the emergency department for further cardiac evaluation, treatment, and monitoring such as serial cardiac enzymes, anticoagulation therapy, beta blockade therapy, and a cardiac catheterization, in order to prevent further heart damage and/or death.

The defendant contended that he met the standard of care and that nothing he did or failed to do caused the patient’s unfortunate death.

The case settled during discovery for the policy limits of $1,000,000.

Attorneys from Lubin & Meyer represented the plaintiff in this heart attack malpractice lawsuit.

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