Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Patient sent home, writes up a will and then dies

In one of Pennsylvania's neighboring states, an estate of a deceased man was awarded $1.065 million in a medical malpractice suit. Though the patient would eventually die of a pulmonary embolism that was not diagnosed, his doctor sent him home by telling him that the problem he was suffering from was a virus and that he wouldn't require any prescription treatment.

What's also interesting about this lawsuit is that the deceased man, fearing impending death due to his perceived medical condition (that his doctor somehow missed), wrote up a new will the evening before his death. The deceased executor then obtained an attorney who litigated this lawsuit.

The vital aspect of treating a pulmonary embolism is to catch it on time because it tends to block major blood vessels and quickly cause irreversible damage or death. Often a misdiagnosis can come about because a doctor failed to pick up on symptoms that a heart attack or stroke may be occurring. In any event, a trained physician should be able to pick up on the signs of a possible pulmonary embolism very quickly and start treatment immediately.

Obviously, with hindsight, the hospital and staff would have handled this incident very differently. The patient had reported to the emergency room complaining of shortness of breath and chest pains. For whatever reason, the hospital was unable to diagnose the pulmonary embolism and released the patient from their care.

Within 24-hours of the patient's emergency room visit, the patient's girlfriend had called 911 expressing concerns, but the patient lost consciousness and died before reaching the hospital.

Source: NJ.com, "Vineland man's estate awarded $1.065 M in malpractice case," by Jason Laday, Jan. 31, 2012

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Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.
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Pittsburgh, PA 15222

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