Medical Malpractice - Wrongful Death

WRSH partner Jason Rubin obtained a $925,000.00 settlement in a medical malpractice/wrongful death case involving the death of a 48 year old woman as a result of a hospital’s failure to diagnose and treat pulmonary embolism (a blood clot that travels to the lung).

Decedent, an unmarried home attendant with three adult children, presented to the emergency room of defendant hospital with complaints of shortness of breath, chest pain and heart palpitations. She was also tachycardic (elevated heart rate). She was diagnosed with anxiety and was discharged from the emergency room the same day. The following day, she continued to have the same symptoms, so she presented to the emergency room of another hospital where she was timely diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism. Treatment with anticoagulation medication was initiated but, despite this treatment, she later coded and died. An autopsy revealed the cause of death to be from pulmonary embolism.

We claimed that the first hospital failed to include pulmonary embolism in the differential diagnosis and failed to perform testing (D-dimer, CT scan or VQ scan) to rule out a pulmonary embolism. As a result of the hospital’s failure to diagnose a pulmonary embolism, there was a delay in treatment of the condition. We argued that if treatment had been initiated a day earlier, the anticoagulation medication would have been in therapeutic range earlier, and her likelihood of survival would have been significantly improved. At the time of her death, the anticoagulation medication was not within therapeutic range.

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