$2 Million Settlement for Late Diagnosis of Amiodarone Toxicity

Donald Zuk, 81, suffered from atrial fibrillation (AFib). He had been taking the prescription medication Amiodarone for 17 years.

Amiodarone is an antiarrhythmic medication used to treat and prevent different types of irregular heartbeats. The drug can be used to prevent ventricular tachycardia, ventricular fibrillation and wide complex tachycardia. The medicine can also be appropriate for atrial fibrillation and paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia. It is taken orally.

In this case, Zuk’s cardiologist, Dr. David Cannom, doubled the dosage of the Amiodarone after the patient experienced breakthrough AFib. After taking the increased dosage for several months, Zuk complained of different negative side effects. This prompted a chest x-ray that showed interstitial change in the left upper lobe. Dr. Cannom recommended a follow-up visit.

Several days later, Zuk’s primary care physician admitted him to a hospital where he was diagnosed as having suffered pulmonary fibrosis and hypoxia, which resulted from over medication or Amiodarone toxicity.

Zuk suffered acute respiratory failure and liver toxicity as well as hyperthyroidism while hospitalized. The future cost for Zuk’s medical needs are estimated at more than $8 million.

Zuk filed a lawsuit against Dr. Cannom and his medical practice alleging that the cardiology defendants chose not to use a safer alternative to Amiodarone, chose not to warn of the medication’s pulmonary risks and failed to promptly identify Amiodarone toxicity.

Zuk, who had undergone ablation surgery approximately 11 months before his hospitalization, also maintained that the cardiology defendants chose not to recommend that he undergo an earlier ablation during his course of hospital treatment.

The defendants asserted that prescribing Amiodarone was within the standard of care, and Dr. Cannom had recommended ablation numerous times.

Before trial, the parties settled for $2 million with Dr. Cannom paying $1.5 million and his medical practice contributing the rest.

The attorneys successfully handling this complicated case for Donald Zuk were Robert F. Vaage and Elizabeth Teixeira.

Zuk v. Cannom, No. BC 622594 (Cal. Super. Ct. Los Angeles County).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling cardiology negligence lawsuits, wrongful death cases, medical negligence lawsuits, hospital negligence cases, physician negligence lawsuits and birth trauma injury cases for individuals, families and their loved ones who have been injured, harmed or killed by the negligence or carelessness of a medical provider for more than 40 years, in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Riverside, Prospect Heights, Streamwood, Stickney, Steger, South Holland, South Chicago Heights, Barrington, Arlington Heights, Maywood, Crestwood, Glencoe, Orland Park, Olympia Fields, Chicago (South Loop, Jackson Park Highlands, Humboldt Park, Pilsen, Princeton Park, Printer’s Row, Ravenswood Gardens, Edgewater, Diversey Harbor, Canaryville, Wrigleyville, Lincoln Park), Deerfield, Geneva, Hinsdale and St. Charles, Ill.

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