Sommers Schwartz attorney Matthew Turner obtained a confidential $650,000 medical malpractice settlement for the estate of a 63-year-old mother of five who died of an aortic dissection after the defendants failed to diagnose and treat her condition.
The decedent was transported by ambulance to the defendant’s emergency department, where she complained of altered mental status, syncope, weakness, nausea, and chest pain rated 10 on a 10-point scale.
The defendant emergency physicians evaluated the patient and determined she should be admitted to the hospital, listing her condition as serious. Numerous tests were performed, including a D-Dimer to identify a possible pulmonary embolism (PE). Although the D-Dimer results were significantly elevated, indicative of PE, the defendants failed to note or properly report this finding.
The decedent continued to complain of chest pain. Eleven hours after her arrival to the emergency room, the defendants ordered a routine CT scan for pulmonary embolism but quickly changed the order’s status to “NOW.” Despite the order for the CT to be performed “NOW,” it was never done. Four hours later, the defendant physician was paged regarding the patient’s complaint of nausea. The defendant physician prescribed Zofran but made no note of the missing CT scan. Within an hour of the Zofran order, the patient died. An autopsy revealed the cause of death as ruptured aortic dissection due to hypertensive cardiovascular disease.
The plaintiff’s numerous expert physicians opined that the defendant doctors, nurses, and mid-level providers failed to timely diagnose and treat the decedent, who arrived at the emergency room 16 hours before her wrongful death. Had the CT scan been performed even two hours earlier, the decedent would have received life-saving surgery and would have survived.
By not sufficiently obtaining the decedent’s history, the defendants overlooked multiple risk factors for acute aortic dissection (AAD). The defendants also failed to complete the CT scan they knew was necessary. If the CT scan had been performed, a diagnosis of ADD would have been made in the emergency department, a surgical consult would have been obtained, and the plaintiff’s aortic dissection would have been discovered and repaired.
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