$1,175,000 – Medical Malpractice/Negligence
Failure to work up coronary artery disease in a 50-year-old leads to her heart attack and amputation of her right leg.
Five years prior to the events alleged, the patient’s primary care doctor at her medical health plan diagnosed her with hypertension. The Health Plan’s records also indicate her family history of coronary artery bypass grafts.
Five years later, in early January, the patient is 50 years old. She and her husband have been married for 33 years. Although she was a smoker, her overall health was good. Over the course of the next six months, she made multiple presentations to the Health Plan’s medical facilities, in the emergency room, to primary care, to vascular surgery and to Urgent Care, with multiple signs, symptoms and risk factors for coronary artery disease. Despite an abnormal EKG, multiple risk factors and symptoms commonly associated with coronary artery ischemia, even with a confirmed diagnosis of atherosclerotic vascular disease in her legs, the Health Plan physicians and healthcare providers never worked the patient up for coronary artery disease. As a result, on June 11th, the patient suffered a major myocardial infarction, causing permanent damage to the functioning of her heart. In addition, complications associated with an intra-aortic balloon pump that was required for the emergency bypass procedure resulted in an above-the-knee amputation of her right leg.
The patient and her husband alleges that the myocardial infarct (heart attack) and the above-the-knee amputation was a direct result of the negligence of the Health Plan and its medical care providers. The patient’s experts testified that the standard of care required timely administration of testing to diagnose the nature and extent of her coronary artery disease, including EKG, stress testing, cardiac echo, a nuclear study if needed, and ultimately an angiography.
Defendants alleged that at all times they complied with the standards of practice.
Until the events giving rise to this action, Mrs. B had worked for many years side-by-side with her husband in several of their own businesses, providing services ranging from simple clerical tasks to complicated accounting and managerial skills. As a result of the MI and amputation, along with the emotional trauma she suffered, Mrs. B is now permanently and totally disabled. Mr. B must not only deal with the physical and psychological changes to his lifelong partner, he has had to take over or hire out all of his wife’s previous job duties – and attempt to be her full-time caretaker and emotional support provider at home, along with trying to manage his personal struggles that come as a result of the injuries inflicted upon his wife.
Shortly before the matter went to arbitration, the parties settled the matter for $1,175,000.