Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP partner Jason Rubin obtained a $3.5 million settlement in a case involving the failure to diagnose acute coronary syndrome in a 34-year-old married father of two children, resulting in a subsequent myocardial infarction (heart attack) and his death several months later.
The man presented to the emergency room of a hospital complaining of a chest ache and shortness of breath. The ER physician took a chest X-ray, which was normal, and diagnosed him with musculoskeletal pain. No EKG, bloodwork, cardiac enzymes, or cardiologic workup was recommended or performed, despite the fact that the man had several risk factors for heart disease, including hyperlipidemia, obesity, and cigarette smoking. Several weeks later, he presented to the hospital’s clinic again complaining of chest pain and was diagnosed with costochondritis. No cardiac workup was performed or recommended.
Approximately 10 months later, the man again experienced chest pain, collapsed, and became unresponsive while at work. EMS was called, but he could not be resuscitated. An autopsy was performed, which indicated the cause of death to be total occlusion of the left anterior descending (LAD) artery.
We claimed that in light of the decedent’s complaints of chest pain and significant risk factors for heart disease, an EKG and cardiac workup should have been performed by the defendant hospital, and that a workup at that time would have revealed obstructive coronary artery disease by virtue of the severe nature of the disease at the time of his death.