On May 31, 2012, a Pennsylvania medical malpractice jury awarded the five young surviving children of a 38-year-old man $6.4 million as a result of alleged medical malpractice that resulted in the man’s death. The $6.4 million verdict included $5.5 million for the loss of guidance, tutelage, and moral upbringing sustained by the children as a result of their father’s death due to alleged medical malpractice. The Pennsylvania medical malpractice jury rendered its verdict after seven days of trial testimony that ended on the third anniversary of the alleged medical malpractice.
The father was playing basketball on May 31, 2009 when he suddenly passed out. He was transported to a local regional hospital in Philadelphia where his symptoms were found to be consistent with the man having suffered a heart attack. He was examined and treated in the emergency room, where he was diagnosed with pneumonia. He was released from the emergency room the same day after being given Motrin and Azithromycin.
While playing basketball three months later, the man once again passed out and was transported back to the same hospital’s emergency room where it was determined that he had suffered a massive heart attack due to a complete blockage in his artery. The man died on November 12, 2009, while he was in a therapeutic drug-induced coma.
The Pennsylvania medical malpractice jury found that the hospital and two of its physicians had been negligent in treating the man during the initial emergency room visit and that such medical negligence was the cause of the man’s massive heart attack three months later due to the blockage in his artery that should have diagnosed and treated during the earlier visit.
When someone arrives in a hospital emergency room having passed out and then having symptoms consistent with a heart attack, it is incumbent upon the emergency room staff to treat the patient as if he/she is having a heart attack until it can be ruled out. Although it is unusual for someone to have a heart attack at age 38, it is also unusual for a 38-year-old to pass out while playing basketball. Had the proper medical testing been promptly ordered and promptly completed, the man’s blockage could have been diagnosed and could have been treated successfully at that time.
It appears that the jury determined that the man should have been timely diagnosed three months before he had a massive heart attack and that had the proper diagnosis been made at that time, the jury apparently determined that appropriate medical treatment would have avoided the man suffering the massive heart attack that resulted in his death.
If negligent emergency room treatment resulted in you or a loved one suffering serious injuries or losses, you may have a claim for medical malpractice. You should promptly consult with a local medical malpractice attorney who may be able to investigate your potential medical malpractice claim for you and file a medical malpractice case on your behalf, if appropriate.
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