Fatal Medical Malpractice

After a month-long trial and during jury deliberations, Jason Rubin settled a medical malpractice/wrongful death case for $2.95 million. The case involved a 33 year old divorced mother of two girls, ages 12 and 14 at the time, who presented to her internist on February 7, 1996 with complaints of several weeks of chest pressure radiating to her left arm, which was not related to exertion. The doctor diagnosed her with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), prescribed her Zantac and instructed her to return to his office in one month for a stress test in order to rule out cardiac causes of her chest pain.

Decedent continued to have intermittent chest pain/pressure for the following two days despite taking the Zantac and, on February 9, 1996, she went to the emergency room of her local hospital. She was seen by a physician who correctly diagnosed her with unstable angina- chest pain caused by inadequate flow of oxygenated blood to the heart tissue. However, because of a change of shifts, she was evaluated by a second doctor who diagnosed her with esophagitis (a manifestation of GERD) and discharged her home.

On February 10, 1996, decedent again started experiencing chest pain/pressure at approximately 12:00 noon while at home. She also vomited several times. An ambulance was called and she was taken to the same hospital where she was seen the day before. Approximately 40 minutes after arriving at the hospital essentially no treatment had been provided to her and she developed sudden seizures. She was then put on a cardiac monitor and an EKG was performed which indicated that she had a serious heart arrhythmia- ventricular fibrillation- as a result of a myocardial infarction (heart attack). Decedent eventually died despite several hours of efforts to resuscitate her.

At trial, Jason presented substantial evidence that the internist and the second emergency room physician on February 9th were negligent for not admitting decedent to the hospital and working her up for coronary artery disease. Jason further presented evidence that the emergency room physician on February 10th was negligent for not suspecting that decedent's complaints were cardiac in nature and for not rendering any care or treatment for her condition.

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