A Utah medical malpractice jury returned its verdict against the defendant medical clinic for its failure to diagnose a patient’s cardiac condition on two separate occasions, resulting in the patient’s death from an aortic dissection. The Utah medical malpractice jury found the defendant medical clinic 70% responsible for the man’s death, and the man 30% responsible for his own death, evidently because he failed to go to a hospital emergency room on his own.
The Underlying Facts
On November 6, 2011, the 55-year-old man developed chest pain that spread to his abdomen for which he sought medical treatment at the defendant medical clinic. Instead of being seen by a physician, the medical clinic’s physician’s assistant treated the man and diagnosed him as being constipated. Despite the man’s serious complaints that could not be ruled out as cardiac in nature, the physician’s assistant did not obtain either an EKG or a chest x-ray, and the man was not told to go to a hospital emergency room.
Because the man continued to have chest pain, he returned to the defendant medical clinic on November 15, 2011, complaining of similar symptoms. A different physician’s assistant saw the man this time and diagnosed him as having abdominal pain and being constipated. The second physician’s assistant also failed to order cardiac testing such as an EKG or an x-ray. Four days after the second trip to the defendant medical clinic, the man died as a result of an aortic dissection.
The man is survived by his wife and six children, as well as his mother and two sisters.
The eight-day Utah medical malpractice trial ended on February 15, 2017, when the medical malpractice jury returned its verdict in the amount of $2,940,250.21, which included $6,464.14 in medical expenses, funeral expenses in the amount of $13,308.07, past lost wages in the amount of $265,053.00, future lost wages in the amount of $255,690.00, past lost fringe benefits in the amount of $124,822.00, future lost fringe benefits in the amount of $120,413.00, past lost household services in the amount of $51,500.00, future lost household services in the amount of $103,000.00, and non-economic damages in the amount of $2,000,000.00.
What Is An Aortic Dissection?
According to the Mayo Clinic, “An aortic dissection is a serious condition in which the inner layer of the aorta, the large blood vessel branching off the heart, tears. Blood surges through the tear, causing the inner and middle layers of the aorta to separate (dissect). If the blood-filled channel ruptures through the outside aortic wall, aortic dissection is often fatal.”
“Aortic dissection is relatively uncommon. The condition most frequently occurs in men in their 60s and 70s. Symptoms of aortic dissection may mimic those of other diseases, often leading to delays in diagnosis. However, when an aortic dissection is detected early and treated promptly, the chance of survival greatly improves.”
If you or a loved one were seen in a medical clinic and your condition was misdiagnosed, leading to injury or death, you should promptly find a medical malpractice lawyer in Utah or in your U.S. state who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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