Sommers Schwartz attorneys Richard Groffsky and Michael Cunningham secured a confidential $1.5 million medical malpractice settlement on behalf of a 43-year-old man and single father of a teenage son, whose wrongful death was caused by the defendant doctors’ failure to timely diagnose and treat his arteriosclerotic coronary artery disease.
The decedent was seen by various physicians at the defendant hospital for cardiac-related complaints over a four-year period:
- In June 2013, he presented to the defendant’s primary care center, complaining of chest pain and tightness while mowing the lawn. A doctor examined the decedent and an EKG was performed and revealed an abnormality, but no cardiac workup was ordered and the patient was sent
- In March 2014, the decedent returned to the hospital complaining of chest pain, chest burning, and chest tightness with strenuous activity. He was seen by a family practice physician and diagnosed with asthma. An inhaler was prescribed for the decedent, and he was sent
- In October 2015, a different family practice doctor saw the decedent and ordered an EKG, which the physician interpreted as normal. The patient was diagnosed with worsening asthma and sent home. A few weeks later, a cardiologist read that same EKG and concluded it was abnormal, but neither the cardiologist nor any other physician followed up.
- During an annual wellness exam in November 2015 with the same doctor who evaluated him in March 2014, the decedent was again diagnosed with asthma. He was referred to a pulmonologist and told to return in one year.
- In December 2015, the decedent underwent a pulmonary consultation for complaints of chest pain, chest tightening, and shortness of breath with strenuous activity. The pulmonologist diagnosed the decedent with worsening asthma. The patient was re-evaluated in February 2016 and was again diagnosed with persistent asthma.
The decedent died at his home on April 2, 2016, and according to the subsequent autopsy, the cause of death was acute congestive heart failure due to arteriosclerotic coronary artery disease. The autopsy showed the decedent had left ventricular hypertrophy, which would have been easily identified on an echocardiogram if one had been performed. The autopsy revealed no evidence of asthma.
The lawsuit alleged that if a cardiac workup would have been conducted at some point during the three years, the decedent presented to various doctors at the defendant hospital, the arteriosclerotic coronary artery disease would have been discovered, a stent could have surgically been implanted, and the decedent’s death would have been prevented.