Articles Posted in Cardiac Arrest

Nicole Incrocci was just 15 when she was bitten by a poisonous snake on her lower left leg. Her leg continued to swell over the next month. When she developed right flank pain, coughing and vomiting, she went to a hospital emergency room where a doctor diagnosed pneumonia, prescribed an antibiotic and discharged her to home.

Nicole’s condition worsened despite the administration of multiple antibiotics. She was later hospitalized. A family physician, Dr. Monique Casey-Bolden, who was aware of the pneumonia diagnosis, Nicole’s chest pain and her history of coughing up blood, diagnosed worsening pneumonia and prescribed different antibiotics.

Nicole’s condition continued to worsen. She developed rapid heart and respiratory rates for which Dr. Casey-Bolden ordered oxygen, albuterol treatments, Tylenol, and an EKG and chest-x-ray.
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Esmeralda Tripp, 42, suffered from atrial fibrillation (AFib) and was on Coumadin to manage her condition. While on this medicine, she experienced 17 instances of high INR (International Normalized Ratio). INR is a standardized number that is calculated in a laboratory. If a patient takes blood thinners, the INR is particularly important. INR is actually the timing mechanism for clotting. The prothrombin time, along with its derived measures of prothrombin ratio and international normalized ratio, are all used in evaluating the pathway of coagulation or blood clotting.

After the report of high INR, doctors prescribed Vitamin K, fresh frozen plasma or a discontinuation of the Coumadin.
After again understanding that she had high INR, Tripp went to the University of Arizona Medical Center. A resident physician, Dr. Olga Gokova, and her supervising physician suggested that Tripp take Profilnine, a prothrombotic.

Two hours after receiving an injection of the Profilnine, Tripp suffered a heart attack resulting from a blood clot in her coronary arteries. The blood clot caused her to experience oxygen deprivation, which led to profound brain damage. Today, she remains in a minimally conscious state.
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Robert Dardenne experienced chest pain. With that symptom he went to a nearby hospital emergency department where the cardiologist on his case, Dr. Vibhuti Singh, ordered testing and observation at the hospital. After two days, Dr. Singh discharged Dardenne, telling him that his symptoms were not cardiac in nature.

Several months later, Dardenne, then 66 years old, suffered a fatal myocardial infarction. He was survived by his wife and one adult child.

His family and estate sued the hospital, claiming that Dr. Singh was negligent in choosing not to provide the appropriate follow-up medical care. The lawsuit also claimed that the testing was ambiguous and thus Dr. Singh should have performed a cardiac catheterization to determine whether Dardenne had a blockage in his arteries.
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According to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago, the judge’s bench trial decision was affirmed. In this case, Phillip Madden brought a claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) against the United States from an ultimately fatal medical incident in which he suffered while in the care, custody and control of the Jessie Brown Veterans Administration (V.A.) Medical Hospital. After this bench trial, the district court found in favor of the United States. Madden appealed.

Madden suffered from numerous medical conditions, including but not limited to: morbid obesity, respiratory acidosis, congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, obstructive sleep apnea, obesity hypoventilation syndrome, hypertension and hyperlipidemia. He was admitted to the V.A. Hospital several times leading up to his last admission on Dec. 28, 2007.

In this case, the issue was whether the parties’ experts provided sufficient credible evidence. The record contained sufficient evidence in support of the district court’s finding that the United States’ medical expert was credible and that Madden’s medical expert was not credible in this wrongful death claim. He died after he went into cardiac arrest.
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Michael Mills was 28 and had a history of smoking and borderline hypertension. He experienced chest pain for a year. He had seen a cardiologist, Dr. Hassan Kassamali, who ordered an echocardiogram, which was shown to be normal.

Mills had two additional appointments with Dr. Kassamali for his continued symptoms of chest pain, but the physician ordered no further tests.

About three weeks after his last cardiology appointment, Mills suffered a fatal cardiac arrest. The autopsy revealed triple-vessel coronary artery disease. Mills is survived by his parents and a minor son.
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Mariam Toraish, as the administrator of her deceased five-year-old son Adam’s estate, filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against James J. Lee, M.D., and his practice. Dr. Lee had done a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy surgery on Adam, who died that same day from cardiac arrhythmia.

Toraish’s complaint alleged that Adam was at a high risk for postoperative respiratory difficulties and that Dr. Lee violated the applicable standard of care by choosing not to order that he be monitored overnight following surgery.

During jury trial, the trial court allowed the expert testimony of Simeon Boyd, M.D., a board-certified pediatric geneticist, who gave an opinion that Adam likely died of “cardiac arrest due to Brugada syndrome.”
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Michael Sebestl, 37, experienced the sudden onset of severe chest pain. This occurred at home around 6 a.m. on June 1, 2008. He told his wife he thought he was having a heart attack, so she called 911 and he was taken by ambulance to Riverside Medical Center in Kankakee, Ill. On the way to the hospital, he told the paramedics that he had a history of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) and that his current symptoms were similar to those but worse than he had ever experienced.

At Riverside Hospital, Sebestl continued to complain of chest pain and a burning sensation on the back of his throat, which was worse when lying on his back. He was examined by the defendant emergency room physician Dr. Manczko, who was near the end of his 12-hour shift. Dr. Manczko interpreted the EKG as normal, ordered a chest x-ray and made a provisional diagnosis of GERD.

Then the care was turned over to another defendant ER physician, Dr. Donna Bell. After the x-ray came back negative, Dr. Bell decided to conduct a more thorough evaluation and ordered further testing, which included a second EKG and blood work for serial cardiac enzymes, Lipase and D-Dimer levels. After all the tests came back normal and the patient’s pain was reduced with narcotic pain medications to a level of 3 out of 10, Dr. Bell diagnosed GERD and discharged Sebestl from the hospital around noon that day.
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John Doe, 48, had a history of hypertension, high cholesterol and smoking. When he experienced shortness of breath and chest tightness, he went to a local hospital emergency room where he underwent an EKG.  Dr. Roe, an emergency room physician, allegedly interpreted the EKG as “fairly normal” and instructed Doe to see his primary care physician as soon as possible and then obtain a cardiac consultation.

Two days later, Doe returned to the emergency room after suffering acute chest pain. Tests revealed an acute thrombus of the left anterior descending coronary artery and other cardiac disease.

Although Doe underwent an angioplasty and stenting, Doe died several months later of organ failure. He had been a corporate controller earning $117,000 per year. Doe was survived by his wife.

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The plaintiff Saleh Mizyed appealed from the trial judge’s order granting summary judgment, which dismissed his medical malpractice complaint against the defendant Palos Community Hospital. The hospital was named as a party defendant under the theory of vicarious liability for the alleged negligence of Mizyed’s treating physicians.  The Illinois Appellate Court for the First District affirmed the dismissal.

Mizyed was treated at Palos Community Hospital (Palos) in early 2009. He is a native Arabic speaker. Although he speaks a limited amount of English, he was deposed in this case with the assistance of an interpreter. At his deposition, he testified that he cannot read or write in either English or Arabic, and that he relies on his adult children to read and translate documents for him. His adult daughter, Nadera (who testified that she has no difficulty speaking or reading English), sometimes went with Mizyed to his doctors’ appointments.

On Jan. 26, 2009, Mizyed visited his primary care physician, Dr. Odeh, for a regularly scheduled appointment. Nadera accompanied him to this doctor’s appointment.  Based on the EKG at the doctor’s office, Dr. Odeh told Mizyed that he needed to go to a hospital immediately. According to Nadera, Dr. Odeh told Mizyed that “it looks like you’re having a heart attack right now.” Dr. Odeh called an ambulance and Mizyed was transported to Palos.

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Dwayne Kantorowski underwent surgery to treat a brain tumor. He was just 45 years old, but he later experienced stroke-like symptoms. He promptly went to a hospital emergency room where he underwent an EKG. Although the test showed abnormalities, the attending emergency physician did not order additional blood tests or cardiac enzyme tests and did not refer him for a cardiology consultation. That failure to refer was the claimed cause of his resulting death

Kantorowski was hospitalized for several days and then discharged. Just three days later however, he suffered a heart attack that left him in a vegetative state for 3 weeks before he died. He was survived by his parents.

His family filed suit against the emergency room physician and the primary care physician who treated Kantorowski during his hospitalization. It was alleged that the doctors chose not to arrange for a cardiology consultation in light of the abnormal EKG, which indicated he had suffered a heart attack. The lawsuit did claim lost income.

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