Workplace Health Clinic Lawsuit Settlement: $1.65 Million for Heart Attack Death
2020 Medical Malpractice Settlement
By Attorney William J. Thompson
Middlesex Superior Court
56-year-old man dies from from heart attack at work due to a delay in diagnosis and treatment of his cardiac condition at workplace health clinic
The plaintiff’s decedent died a premature and preventable death at age 56 from a delay in diagnosis and treatment of his cardiac condition at a workplace health clinic.
The employee presented to his health clinic at work not feeling well. He had been out late the night before. He remained in the workplace clinic for approximately three and one-half hours at which time he was found unresponsive. The subsequent medical records and autopsy report reveal that he suffered a cardiac event.
The employee arrived at the health clinic around 9:00 a.m. feeling tired and nauseous with symptoms of sweating/perspiration. His vital signs were normal. He reportedly denied chest or any other type of pain. His color was normal. His skin was warm and moist. He went into the bathroom to try to vomit but was unsuccessful.
From 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., he was asleep and his color was pink. He was lying on his left side. The nurse reported she observed him every 10 minutes and observed his chest rising and lowering. At 12:38 p.m., when the nurse went to check on him, he was unresponsive. A carotid pulse was present and regular, but weak. His color was slightly gray, and his skin was cool and dry. The nurse contacted security but did not move the employee to a hard surface, which is needed to perform CPR. She did not initiate CPR. When security arrived, the employee was moved to the hard surface floor. An AED was applied, but indicated that shock was not advised because he did not have a shockable rhythm. CPR was then initiated by security and 911 was called. EMS arrived, transported the employee to a local hospital, but he was pronounced dead around 1:30 p.m.
An autopsy revealed the cause of death was a cardiac arrest as a result of an acute thrombosis of the left anterior descending coronary artery in addition to atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Other significant findings at autopsy included a previously unknown carcinoma of the thyroid gland 4 cm in diameter with vascular and capsular invasion.
The plaintiff contended the nurse delayed in sending the employee to the hospital. The nurse contended she complied with the standard of care and that it was reasonable and appropriate to monitor the employee given his stable condition.
The case settled prior to trial for $1,650,000, with the insurer responsible for resolving all liens.
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