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$2.4 million in missed diagnosis malpractice case

Kennedy, Johnson, Schwab & Roberge, L.L.C. have won an impressive $2.4 million dollar award for their client in a medical misdiagnosis trial. The jury awarded the estate of a 61-year-old man $2 million for his loss as well as $425,000 for loss of consortium for his wife.

According to John Kennedy, Jr., the plaintiff's attorney, "We feel this case was decided correctly by the jury and that there was a clear deviation from the the standard of care...the jury went with the better medical evidence."

The man in this case was seen in the emergency department at St. Vincent's Medical Center in Bridgeport, Connecticut, in March of 2009. His chief complaint was chest pain with radiation to left shoulder, lightheadedness and dizziness. The results from an electrocardiogram and chest x-ray were normal. The man checked himself out of the hospital; however, his doctors wanted the man to spend the night in the hospital. The next day, the man returned with the same symptoms and was admitted.

The doctor ordered a nuclear stress test, which is used to make sure his heart was receiving enough blood. The EKGs showed abnormalities and he was still suffering from chest pains. According to Stephanie Roberge, "That was highly indicative of a coronary artery disease as the cause of his chest pain and that he was in imminent risk of a cardiac event."

There were abnormalities also discovered in the stress test, but the doctor never saw the final report. The man was released, with a diagnosis given of gastrointestinal problems. The last day in May 2009, the man was taken to Griffin Hospital's emergency room, where he passed away. His death certificate lists his cause of death as cardiopulmonary respiratory arrest and myocardial infarction.

The lawsuit alleged that the doctors at the first hospital should have ordered a heart catheterization test. This test reveals when a patient has a blocked artery. The stress test that was ordered is not as effective, according to Roberge. She also said that the doctors did admit that the stress test's final report was something they did not see.

The jury deliberated for three days before returning the multi-million dollar verdict. Kennedy said that the man "was quite a guy. He was a charitable guy, very interested in helping disabled veterans." While the award cannot bring the man back, his family can find some comfort in knowing that those responsible for the man's misdiagnosis have been held accountable.

Source: Connecticut Law Review, "Heart Attack Victim's Estate Gets $2.5M After Doctors Fail to Review Test Results," Christian Nolan, July 16, 2015

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