Case #4036 Hospital Negligence Leads to Undiagnosed Aneurysm Resulting in Death
On October 31, the Claimant’s Decedent saw the Defendant Physician, his primary care physician, complaining of chest pain. At that time, the Defendant performed an EKG which was clearly interpreted as abnormal. It is alleged that, at that time, the Defendant was required, in conformity with the standards of care, to arrange for a full cardiology evaluation which would have included, but not been limited to, cardiac enzyme studies, serial EKG’s, stress test, as well as echocardiogram and cardiac catheterization. Tragically, the Defendant failed to do so and simply ordered a nuclear stress test.
In accordance with his physician’s advice, the Claimant’s Decedent underwent the stress test on November 19, which was also clearly interpreted as abnormal. Again, however, the Defendant Physician negligently failed to arrange for further follow-up and evaluation as indicated above. Instead, the Defendant negligently failed to do anything other than schedule a repeat “physical examination” for the following March 17.
As a direct result of the Defendant Physician’s ongoing negligence, the Claimant’s Decedent presented to the Defendant Hospital on December 6, (around midnight) complaining of dizziness, diaphoresis as well as severe chest pain. It is alleged that the standards of care required emergency evaluation, testing and procedures to affirmatively diagnose the Decedent’s cardiac status and provide emergency intervention. However, these Defendants negligently delayed any intervention. In fact, the Claimant’s Decedent was not even seen until 8:30 a.m. the following morning by the Defendant Cardiologist. Had these Defendants conformed with the applicable standards of care, cardiac evaluation would have occurred well before 8:30 a.m. as the Claimant’s Decedent’s condition constituted a cardiac emergency.
When the Claimant’s Decedent was finally seen at 8:30 a.m., an EKG was interpreted which was abnormal. Additionally, the Decedent remained tachycardic. However, it was not until 10:30 a.m. (an additional negligent delay) that the Claimant’s Decedent received an echocardiogram which was positive for a posterior lateral wall aneurysm. In fact, the echocardiogram revealed the presence of blood pulsing through the rent which the aneurysm had created in his heart wall. Tragically, these Defendants negligently failed to act on these findings including the compelling echocardiogram, and failed to transfer the Claimant’s Decedent immediately for emergency cardiac surgery.
It was not until after 6:15 p.m. that the Claimant’s Decedent was finally moved to another hospital. However, upon arrival, the Claimant’s Decedent was in cardiac shock. Immediate intervention by hospital personnel that included an emergent left thoracotomy proved too little — too late. The Claimant’s Decedent died as the result of these Defendants’ ongoing negligence in failing to appropriately evaluate the Claimant’s Decedent on October 31, with subsequent negligence involved in his presentation to the Defendant Hospital on December 6, as described above.
It is alleged that had the Claimant’s Decedent been evaluated by a cardiologist on or about October 31, the necessary tests and studies would have been performed and the aneurysm would have been detected and repaired in a normal fashion. Further, had these Defendants acted in accordance with the standards of care on December 6, appropriate studies would have been performed with the same diagnosis reached and appropriate cardiac intervention provided. However, due to the continuing negligence of these Defendants, the Claimant’s Decedent was deprived of any required cardiac intervention, resulting in a painful and unnecessary death.