Posted by Gary Burger on January 25, 2019 in Newsletter
We represented Connie’s family in a medical malpractice and wrongful death claim. We fought hard and worked the case up to within 10 days of trial. The terms of the resolution are confidential.
Connie lived in Franklin County, Missouri and had prior heart problems. She was seen and treated by a cardiologist for many years.
In September of 2015 she was taken by ambulance to the local emergency room where she was treated by an emergency room physician. Many ER doctors today are not employed by the hospital, but instead are locum tenens.
This means that they are not employed by the hospital but work through an independent contracting company which supplies emergency room doctors or nurses on a more temporary basis.
We alleged in the case that the doctor breached the standard of care or rules of his profession. Connie had chest pain and bilateral arm pain and obvious heart attack symptoms. The ER doctor knew this, a heart was in his differential diagnosis and he ordered blood work which included a troponin test.
The significance of the troponin test was especially important in this instance as the ECG revealed a T-wave abnormality and inversions – the person reading the ECG thought there was likely a problem.
However, the doctor did not do a second troponin test — which the standard of care requires. He never diagnosed her with heart problems, instead diagnosed her with acid reflux and digestive issues and he discharged her.
Within 12 hours of her being discharged, Connie had a massive heart attack, and went to the hospital. She never woke up from that and died in the hospital a few days later.
Troponin is an enzyme that is given up when heart failure or myocardial infarction are indicated. The standard is to do multiple troponin test over time to see if a heart attack is occurring — even if the first test is negative.
A single troponin test is not accurate. This is because troponin builds up over time. And it’s especially true for women. Women often don’t exhibit the classic arm or chest pain that men do in heart attacks.
So, it is even more important for women to be kept in the emergency room or admit them in a hospital for a short period of time to do troponin test every 6 to 8 hours to see if troponin level is increasing. If so, you do a cardiac procedure where you relieve the artery occlusions and provide adequate blood flow to the heart.
The doctor in this case did not do that and it led to the sad death of Connie. We did a lot of work in the case including deposing all the parties, our liability expert as well as a cardiologist expert. In fact, the defendants own expert said he would have performed two troponin tests if he were the doctor caring for Connie in that situation.
We fight hard for our medical malpractice clients to get justice for them. Check out the video below on fighting a medical malpractice claim.
Connie was the glue that held her family together- she kept everyone on contact and was a really kind and sweet woman. The family was persistent that they pursue this case because they wanted to make sure this did not happen to anyone else.
We believe we successful instituted some changes to reduce the risk of this happening to others. We are happy to do this work and get this good result for Connie’s family.