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  • Wrongful Death – Cardiac Arrest After Negligent Performance of an EP Study with PVC Ablation: Bowen v. McLaren Bay Region, et al.

Sommers Schwartz attorneys Matthew Turner and Mickey McCullough filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the estate of a woman who died from complications stemming from a negligently performed EP Study with PVC Ablation.

An electrophysiology study, or EP Study, is a test that measures the electrical activity of the heart to diagnose arrhythmia or abnormal heart rhythms. PVCs are a kind of abnormal heart rhythm, and a catheter ablation uses radiofrequency energy to destroy the area of heart tissue causing the irregular contractions.  

According to the complaint, the decedent sought treatment by the defendants when she had complaints of dizziness. A stress test revealed increased PVCs, and she had an abnormal EKG. It was recommended that the decedent undergo an EP Study with PVC Ablation to address her increased PVCs. During and following the procedure, the defendant physicians committed several acts of medical malpractice that resulted in the decedent suffering multiple cardiac arrests and passing away. 

Among the physicians’ many failures to properly treat and manage the decedent’s condition, they did not attempt more conservative and less risky treatments, such as anti-arrhythmia medication, before proceeding with a PVC ablation. Anti-arrhythmia medication is used to maintain normal heart rhythm. During an ablation, a catheter is passed through a vein to reach your heart. In this case, the physicians negligently placed the catheter into the decedent’s left coronary system while performing a left heart catheterization.

The improper placement of the catheter directly caused the decedent to suffer an arrest. The patient was resuscitated and taken to the cath lab, where a stent and an intra-aortic balloon pump were placed to keep the vein open and help the heart pump more blood. Over the next five days, the defendants failed to adequately treat the decedent’s ongoing bleeding and heart dysfunction, leading to another arrest, this time fatal. These complications were a direct consequence of the arrest that occurred during the ablation procedure. 

Had the defendants followed the standard of care, which included first attempting more conservative medical therapy, they likely would not have needed to perform the ablation, would not have inserted a catheter into the decedent’s left coronary system, and the patient would have never arrested on the operating table. Had the negligence not occurred during the PVC ablation, the patient would not have had ongoing bleeding and heart dysfunction and would not have died.

In the medical malpractice complaint, the decedent’s estate seeks compensation for medical, hospital, funeral, and burial expenses, pain and suffering, loss of society and companionship, and other damages.

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