Sommers Schwartz attorney Matthew Turner secured a $385,000 wrongful death settlement for the estate of a 37-year-old father who died two weeks after seeking treatment for abdominal pain.
According to the complaint, the decedent presented to the hospital complaining of upper right quadrant pain that radiated to his back. The ER physician examined the patient and ordered a CT scan that revealed a likely splenic infarction – an interruption of the oxygen supply to the spleen that led to tissue death – and admitted the patient to the hospital. The attending internal medicine physician did nothing to determine the cause of the splenic infarct. It turned out that the patient had endocarditis, an infection causing the heart to throw off clots that settled in the spleen, leading to the infarction. The endocarditis remained untreated, causing the patient’s untimely death.
The estate alleged that the doctor violated the standard of care by failing to determine the cause of the splenic infarction, which would have led to diagnosing and treating the endocarditis. The patient should have been placed on heart monitoring when he was admitted to the hospital, an echocardiogram should have been ordered, blood cultures should have been obtained, and the decedent should have been hospitalized until proper diagnoses were made. Had the doctor taken these measures, the endocarditis would have been promptly and successfully treated with intravenous antibiotics and the decedent would have survived.
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