Case #3002: Ongoing Hospital Negligence Leads to Fatal Heart Attack
On Friday, September 11, the Plaintiffs’ Decedent, age 56, presented to a private emergency facility complaining of chest pain. He reported two separate episodes of chest pain with the most recent being on that same day. An electrocardiogram (EKG) taken at that time was abnormal with ST depression in multiple leads. Appropriately, physicians at the private emergency facility advised the Decedent to present to the hospital on an emergency basis for cardiac evaluation and intervention.
Accordingly, the Decedent proceeded directly to the hospital’s emergency department. Upon presentation, he complained of two separate episodes of substernal chest pain. Two EKG’s completed at the hospital’s emergency department were described as demonstrating a normal sinus rhythm with a septo-myocardial infarct (age undetermined). However, the Defendant had possession of the previous EKG taken at the private facility earlier that same day. The Plaintiff alleged that the standards of care required the Defendant to interpret the previous EKG as being abnormal, with non-specific ST depression changes in multiple leads, which had temporarily resolved by the time the Decedent presented to the hospital’s emergency department.
It was further alleged that in view of the Decedent’s risk factors, including the fact that he was a 56-year-old male with a smoking history who presented with two separate episodes of recurrent substernal chest pain, in conjunction with an abnormal EKG recorded that very day, the Defendant was required to consult with cardiology and admit the Decedent for observation and cardiac evaluation. Had that been accomplished, the Decedent would have subsequently demonstrated changes on his EKG, would have experienced recurrent chest pain, and/or demonstrated other indicators of an active cardiac problem. These findings would have confirmed ischemia and would have ultimately resulted in stress testing, cardiac catheterization and/or other appropriate intervention.
In fact, the Plaintiff alleged that had the Defendant provided appropriate cardiac consultation and intervention, the Decedent would have made a full recovery and returned to his family to resume all of his normal activities with no deficits whatsoever. However, as a result of the ongoing negligence of the Defendant, the Decedent was simply discharged to his home with an appointment to return for a stress test the following week. Following discharge, the Decedent suffered a myocardial infarction and died on September 14.
The Decedent was survived by a wife, a minor child and three adult children. The case settled for $750,000.00.