$2.35 Million Settlement for the Death Caused by Failure to Diagnose and Treat Aortic Dissection

Jonathan Rabkin, 53, went to a hospital emergency room complaining of the sudden onset of upper abdominal pain radiating to his back. The attending emergency room physician, Dr. Vikram Varma, ordered a chest x-ray and chest CT scan without contrast.

Radiologist Dr. Paul Shieh interpreted the CT scan as showing a 5.2 cm ascending thoracic aortic aneurysm. An aneurysm by definition is an excessive localized enlargement of an artery caused by a weakening of the artery wall. In too many patient cases, an aneurysm left unrecognized and untreated can be deadly.

Rabkin was then admitted for observation and five hours later underwent an enhanced CT scan, which showed a type A aortic dissection.

One hour later, but before Rabkin could be transferred to another hospital for surgery, he required a full resuscitation. Despite measures to resuscitate, he died. He had been a mortgage loan officer earning approximately $60,000 per year. He is survived by his wife and two adult children.

Rabkin’s wife, individually and on behalf of the estate, sued Dr. Varma alleging that his choosing not to order a CT scan with contrast led to an unnecessary delay in diagnosing and treating the aortic dissection.

The lawsuit against Dr. Shieh, the radiologist, alleged that he decided not to immediately contact Dr. Varma and advise him of the CT scan findings and the need for a CT angiogram with contrast to rule out an aortic dissection.

The Rabkin family also alleged that the hospitalist, Dr. Luzminda Anama who took over Rabkin’s care after the first CT scan, was also liable for not ordering a timely CT scan with contrast. The defendants maintained that even if Rabkin had received the timely diagnosis of aortic dissection, it would have taken 6-10 hours to effectuate a transfer to another hospital that was capable of performing life-saving surgery for an aortic dissection.

Before trial, the parties settled for $2.35 million, including $1.25 million from Dr. Varma, $750,000 from Dr. Shieh and $350,000 from Dr. Anama.

The attorney representing the Rabkin family in this tragic case was Daryl L. Zaslow.

Rabkin v. Varma, No. OCN-L-2253-15 (N.J. Super Ct. Ocean County, March 6, 2019).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling medical malpractice lawsuits, wrongful death cases, aortic dissection negligence cases and birth trauma injury lawsuits for individuals, families and loved ones who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of a medical provider for more than 40 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Joliet, North Riverside, Cicero, Forestview, Burbank, Hickory Hills, Oak Lawn, Calumet Park, South Holland, Blue Island, Hometown, Alsip, Olympia Fields, Oak Brook, Villa Park, River Forest, Elmwood Park, Chicago (Norwood Park, Edison Park, Jefferson Park, North Park, Albany Park, Edgewater, Uptown, Lincoln Park, Near North Side, Douglas, Bronzeville, Hyde Park, Wrigleyville, Woodlawn, South Shore, Morgan Park, Beverly, Washington Heights), Evanston, Chicago Ridge, Park Ridge and Justice, Ill.

Robert D. Kreisman has been an active member of the Illinois and Missouri bars since 1976.

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