The verdict was in the total amount of $8.25 million, which included $5 million awarded to the man’s widow and his son for their loss of society and $3.25 million for grief and sorrow.
The Chicago medical malpractice jury trial lasted ten days after which the jury deliberated for two hours and twenty minutes before returning its verdict in favor of the man’s estate. The twelve-person medical malpractice jury consisted of seven women and five men.
The Alleged Facts
The 68-year-old man had total knee replacement surgery at the defendant Chicago hospital in December 2009. During his three-day hospitalization, he suffered a heart attack, which was allegedly unrecognized and untreated by the defendant hospital’s medical staff, resulting in hypoxia, anemia, disorientation, and confusion. Two days later, the man died while still in the defendant hospital as a result of a massive myocardial infarction caused by shock and inadequate blood flow to his internal organs (including his heart) from his earlier untreated heart attack.
The plaintiff’s Chicago medical malpractice lawsuit alleged that the man’s death was avoidable if the defendant hospital’s medical staff had ordered the appropriate medical tests in a timely fashion in light of the man’s cardiac symptoms.
A study published in 2013 in the Journal of the American Heart Association that was conducted by the University of North Carolina analyzed inpatient STEMIs (ST-elevation myocardial infarction) at a single medical center covering the period from January 1, 2007 to July 31, 2011. The study found that the inpatient mortality rate was 39.6% for inpatient STEMI patients compared with a mortality rate of 4% for outpatient STEMI patients.
The study found that the development of a STEMI while hospitalized for a noncardiac condition is associated with a high mortality rate (patients who develop a STEMI while hospitalized for a noncardiac condition are older, more often female, and have more comorbidities).
Another study found that patients in the hospital for unrelated medical issues are three times more likely to die when they have a heart attack compared to patients who have heart attacks outside of the hospital (approximately 10,000 people in the United States per year suffer a heart attack while in the hospital while being treated for an unrelated condition).
One explanation for the substantial difference may be that people who arrive at the hospital emergency room after having a heart attack are more likely to survive because there is a standard treatment plan for such patients whereas patients who are already admitted to the hospital for an unrelated condition are often more difficult to diagnose.
If you or a loved one suffered harm as a result of the failure to diagnose a heart attack, you should promptly find a local medical malpractice attorney in your state who may investigate your medial negligence claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
Turn to us when you don’t know where to turn.