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

Misdiagnosis leads to Pennsylvania man dying of heart attack

A Pennsylvania jury recently brought back a $6.4 million dollar verdict after a hospital's failure to diagnose a potentially fatal heart condition in a patient - the patient having had a long history of atrial fibrillation and who was complaining of shoulder and chest pain after playing basketball. Instead, the doctors diagnosed the patient with pneumonia and discharged him that same evening.

Despite all of the warning signs, the hospital apparently failed to order a number of cardiac tests that may have revealed the patient's condition. Three months after being released from the hospital, the patient suffered a massive heart attack - again after playing basketball. He suffered brain damage as a result of the heart attack, had to undergo numerous medical procedures, and died a little more than two months later.

The jury found one doctor to be 88 percent negligent, another doctor to be 10 percent negligent and the hospital to be 2 percent in this individual's death. The award is to be distributed on behalf of the patient's five children.

Though the amount if large, such an award is understandable when we're speaking of the death of such a young father. The patient's five children were between the ages of 1 and 8-years old. The patient that died was only 38-years of age.

If you suspect that a hospital was incorrect in a diagnosis and death or injury resulted in a loved one, you may wish to contact an attorney to discuss the available options. Doctors need to be held accountable for failing to diagnose certain medical conditions because it at least may force them to pay closer attention to the symptoms that are presented.

Source: The Pennsylvania Record, "Phila. jury renders $6.4 million plaintiffs' verdict in medical malpractice, wrongful death case," by Jon Campisi, June 7, 2012

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