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Sommers Schwartz attorney Kenneth Watkins secured a confidential $1.5 million settlement on behalf of a woman who was severely harmed as a result of surgical errors. The plaintiff ...
  • Cardiology Malpractice – Failure to Timely Diagnose and Treat Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection: Drutchas v. St. Joseph Mercy Oakland, et al.

Sommers Schwartz attorney Matthew Turner filed a medical malpractice lawsuit on behalf of a 36-year-old woman who suffered permanent and catastrophic heart damage due to the defendants’ failure to recognize and treat spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) and prevent a second myocardial infarction.

According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff presented to the ER of the defendant hospital in January 2019 complaining of severe, burning chest pain and numbness and tingling in her upper left extremity. Although an EKG showed normal sinus rhythm, lab tests showed elevated Troponin levels, indicative of heart damage. In the plaintiff’s age group, SCAD is the leading cause of heart attacks in women and occurs when a blood vessel in the heart tears, which – as it did here – can reduce or block the flow of blood to the heart and cause a myocardial infarction and abnormal heart rhythm.

A few hours later, the plaintiff returned to baseline and felt better, but was admitted because her sudden myocardial infarction could not be explained and she remained at risk for rapid Troponin elevation, aneurysms, and cardiac abnormalities.

Due to her elevated Troponin levels, the attending cardiologist on the day of admission advised that the patient needed a cardiac catheterization. The cardiac cath, however, was never done, and the patient was discharged the next day after being evaluated by a new cardiologist who never considered SCAD as a potential diagnosis and never discussed the risk of SCAD with the patient. The plaintiff’s previous medical care had been provided by Beaumont doctors, and she was told that it was safe for her to be discharged and to be worked up as an outpatient by her doctors at Beaumont. Less than two days later, she suffered a second heart attack that was much more serious than the first and caused massive damage to her heart and almost caused her death.

The lawsuits alleged that had had the defendants 1) obtained a CT scan or cardiac catheterization to determine why the plaintiff suffered a myocardial infarction before discharge, 2) excluded, confirmed, or even included SCAD as a differential diagnosis, or 3) informed her of the severity of her heart condition, the urgency of a follow-up visit, and the imminent risks of her unmonitored heart abnormalities, she would not have suffered the second heart attack that caused her permanent disability and decreased life expectancy.

Because of the defendant’s negligence, the plaintiff cannot work in her prior chosen field, cannot have children due to the stress on her heart, and cannot lead a normal life. She may require a heart transplant in the future and she will require lifelong medications and medical care to preserve her heart function.

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