Man Dies of Heart Attack after Doctor Missed Cardiac Trouble

On behalf of Brown & Crouppen, P.C. posted in Medical Malpractice on Friday, July 6, 2012

Imagine going to your trusted physician after a scary medical event and being told everything is fine, only to suffer an even worse emergency later due to the doctor’s negligence. Most people in St. Louis would agree that such poor care is unacceptable.

A story from another state provides a sad example of this. A man’s fatal heart attack could have been avoided if his physician had taken an earlier medical emergency more seriously, a jury in the man’s home state recently found. The jury ordered the doctor to pay up to $5.8 million in damages to the man’s family for failure to diagnose or treat his coronary heart disease.

The victim, 59, was taken to the hospital by ambulance in February 2006 with chest pains. Emergency room staff determined that he was not having a heart attack, but attributed the symptoms to possible coronary problems.

But when the victim went to see his doctor after leaving the hospital, the doctor did not seem to take the chances of a heart problem very seriously. He did not refer the man to a cardiologist for more detailed testing and even advised him to stop taking aspirin as a blood thinner, according to the family’s attorney.

Just a few months later, in June 2006, the man suffered a heart attack and died. An autopsy discovered that he had coronary heart disease and damage to his heart.

In their medical malpractice suit, which finally reached trial in June, the victim’s family argued that the defendant failed to provide adequate care. After a week-long trial, the jury found for the plaintiffs and ordered the doctor to pay $3.74 million. With interest, the damages could rise to $5.8 million.

Source: Boston Business Journal, “Mass. Doctor could pay $5.8M in heart attack medical malpractice suit,” Jay Fitzgerald, June 28, 2012

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