$2.7M Ohio Medical Malpractice Verdict For Death Due To Lung Disease

162017_132140396847214_292624_nIn December 2013, an Ohio medical malpractice jury returned its verdict in the amount of $2,700,000 in favor of a woman and her family for the woman developing terminal lung disease as a result of a combination of medications she was prescribed. While the results of an abnormal chest x-ray to check for lung disease was provided to the woman’s physician and placed in the woman’s chart, she was not made aware of the abnormal finding until nine months later, after she experienced breathing problems and was transported to the hospital.

The woman had rheumatoid arthritis for which her primary care physician had prescribed the arthritis medication Methotrexate. In March 2006, she sought treatment from another physician who increased her dosage of Methotrexate and ordered a chest x-ray of her lungs, which was reported as showing no lung disease. In 2010, she returned to the same physician at which time he added the medication Leflunomide (the combination of Methotrexate and Leflunomide to treat rheumatoid arthritis is not uncommon, but the combination of those two drugs is known to increase the risk of causing interstitial lung disease). The physician did not order medical tests to evaluate the woman’s lungs at that time.

The woman returned to the physician seven months later for a routine appointment at which time the physician heard crackling in her lungs for which he ordered a chest x-ray. The radiologist reported to the physician the following day that the x-ray indicated possible lung disease and recommended further evaluation. Nonetheless, the physician did not advise the woman of the results of the x-ray (which was placed in her chart) and he failed to provide timely medical care and treatment or refer her to a specialist. However, he did continue to prescribe her both Methotrexate and Leflunomide.

It was not until nine months after the abnormal chest x-ray (in June 2011) that the woman first learned that she had developed terminal lung disease from the combination of the two drugs. She spent months in the hospital followed by discharge to a nursing home, where she was dependent on increasing amounts of oxygen to breath and she was confined to a wheelchair.

She died on January 18, 2014, one month after the Ohio medical malpractice verdict. The jury awarded $1,000,000 for the woman’s economic damages (she incurred more than $650,000 in medical bills and she had sustained lost wages from her job as a waitress at a Friendly’s restaurant located in the Cleveland area), an additional $1,000,000 for her noneconomic damages (pain and suffering, mental anguish, etc.), and $700,000 to her husband for his noneconomic damages.

Source Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, Case No. CV 12 787443.

If you or a loved one may have been injured (or worse) as a result of medical malpractice in Ohio or in another U.S. state, you should promptly consult with an Ohio medical malpractice attorney or a medical malpractice attorney in your state who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.

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This entry was posted on Monday, February 10th, 2014 at 9:20 am. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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