According to recent media reports, a jury in a medical malpractice case awarded the widow of a 67-year-old man nearly $3 million. The lawsuit was filed by the wife of the 67-year-old man who allegedly died because his doctors did not pay close attention his echocardiogram test results.
The lawsuit stated that the 67-year-old died in May of 2009 from a progressive heart condition known as aortic stenosis. In essence, the disease causes the aortic valve to narrow, restricting blood flow. The lawsuit specifically noted that the man’s general doctor had ordered an echocardiogram in January of 2008, and in that echocardiogram the physician who interpreted the results noted that the aortic stenosis appeared to be more severe in the images that the measurements.
Despite the notes on the echocardiogram, the 67-year-old’s general doctor referred him to a heart specialist who ordered a stress test. Although the stress test did not identify any defects, it did show reduced cardiovascular function. The heart specialist did not look the echocardiogram that was ordered by the general doctor, and did not recommend any treatment options for the aortic stenosis.
Later in 2008 the man’s condition worsened and a subsequent echocardiogram was ordered again by his general doctor, which revealed that the 67-year-old’s aortic stenosis had worsened. He underwent a procedure where a balloon was inserted into his aortic valve to widen it, but the man died because the valve was very narrow and the procedure was very risky. The 67-year-old man’s wife sued both the general doctor and the heart specialist for failing to look at the echocardiogram. The jury found both the general practitioner and the heart specialist liable.
Losing a loved one due to the negligence of a healthcare provider can be difficult. Holding a negligent doctor responsible and accountable can not only help a bereaved family cope better, but may also give the family some sense of justice for the harm done.
Source: Courant, “Jury Awards $3 Million In Medical Malpractice Case,” Christine Dempsey, June 26, 2015