Wrongful death suit alleges doctor failed to diagnose condition

By Greg Kohn

According to the Centers for Disease Control, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., and nearly 600,000 people die every year from the disease. Given the high incidence of heart disease, when a patient presents with symptoms of a heart attack, there is an expectation that the attending physician will perform the necessary tests and checks. Nonetheless, there are times when a doctor may fail to diagnose the condition and serious injury or even death may result.

In fact, our New Jersey residents will find it interesting to learn of an on-going wrongful death suit that was filed in another state against a health system and hospital for failing to adequately diagnose a 45-year-old man’s heart condition.

The man was on two different medicines for hypertension or high blood pressure. But he was admitted to the ER for hypotension or low blood pressure, a heart rate exceeding 100 beats per minutes and hives in the morning, and had to be re-admitted the same day in the evening. He collapsed in the ER and died that evening of admission. The cause was death was determined to be irregular heartbeat with underlying coronary artery disease. One doctor who testified stated that an EKG should have been ordered when the man presented with a high heart rate, and the doctor did not follow the standard of care. Other doctors who testified also noted that an EKG takes only several minutes and given the man’s medical history hypertension an EKG should have been done.

As a result of the doctor’s failure to diagnose and order the necessary tests, the 45-year-old died. His family is now seeking over $50,000 and funeral and burial costs.

Source: The Journal, “Doctors testify at wrongful death trial,” Fritz Busch, April 24, 2013

About the Author
Greg Kohn is a partner at Nagel Rice and specializes in complex civil litigation cases, including professional malpractice, personal injury, class actions, wrongful death, products liability, and commercial litigation.  He has extensive experience representing clients in both state and federal court. Greg has tried many jury trials to verdict and has recovered over $50 million in settlements and verdicts in all types of personal injury matters including automobile accidents, wrongful death cases, slip and falls, and other catastrophic injury cases. Greg also handles medical malpractice cases, involving misdiagnoses, wrongful birth, and delayed cancer diagnosis. If you have questions regarding this article, you can contact Greg here.