Most people across the country and here in Oregon would expect a patient complaining of chest pains to be given at least minimal cardiac testing to ensure that patient is not suffering from a heart attack or some other heart-related malady that could be life-threatening. That is what one man and his family expected when a man went to see his family physician and visited the emergency room of a hospital in his area. After he died, surviving family members filed a lawsuit alleging that doctor errors caused his death.
The 73-year-old man reportedly saw his primary doctor and went to the emergency room twice; however, at no time did his physicians order any proper cardiac testing. The man was admitted to the hospital on Oct. 9, 2008 and was there for approximately three days. The family alleged that no tests were performed to determine whether conditions such as hardening of the arteries, cardiac ischemia or atherosclerosis were causing the man’s pain; furthermore, they claimed that a cardiac enzyme test was not done either. Purportedly, the hospital only monitored his fluctuating pulse and heart rate. Three days later on Oct. 12, 2008, he was back in the hospital, and before the day was out, he died due to a rupture of his left ventricular wall brought on by a transmural myocardial infarction.
The jury did not believe that the hospital or any emergency room personnel contributed to the man’s death. However, they did find that his primary care physician and clinic contributed to his death. The family was awarded approximately $950,000 in damages.
This case illustrates the fact that not all of the defendants accused of doctor errors in a medical malpractice claim have to be found responsible for surviving family members to receive a monetary judgment against the remaining defendants. Any parties who might have played a part in the death of an Oregon patient may be listed as defendants in the case. From there, it will be up to the court to determine whether they bear any legal responsibility.
Source: cookcountyrecord.com, “Jury awards Ford County record $950K to family of victim of alleged medical malpractice“, Annie Hunt, Jan. 7, 2016