Articles Posted in Cardiac Arrest

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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Janice Bishop presented to the emergency department at Graham Hospital in Canton, Ill., with complaints of chest pain on July 19, 2010. The emergency room physician ordered an EKG, which demonstrated non-specific T-wave changes compared to a prior 2007 EKG.

Multiple nitroglycerine injections and one Lovenox injection were administered to Bishop in the ER. She was then admitted to a post-coronary care unit under the attention of the defendant physician Dr. Patrick Renick. Serial EKGs were then done.

Dr. Renick discharged Bishop the next morning, July 20, 2010, with orders for a stress test to be done as an outpatient.  The outpatient stress test was scheduled for July 23, 2010, but she subsequently canceled it due to insurance coverage issues.

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Matthew Gulino, the husband of the plaintiff, Joanne Gulino, visited his primary care physician in October 2009 complaining of nausea, fatigue, shortness of breath, chills and lightheadedness. The doctor diagnosed him with anxiety and prescribed Xanax after several tests showed the symptoms were not heart related.

Gulino returned to his doctor’s office two days later because the anti-anxiety medication wasn’t relieving his symptoms. Without doing any other tests, the doctor suggested that he see a psychiatrist.

The next day, Gulino visited the emergency room at Palos Community Hospital in Palos Heights, Ill., for the same symptoms. Based on Gulino’s reported symptoms and his previous anxiety diagnosis, the emergency room physician concluded that he was experiencing an acute anxiety reaction and prescribed strong anti-anxiety medication.

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Wayne Reynolds, 64, who had a history of smoking and high cholesterol, experienced rapid heartbeat and other problems over the course of several years. He consulted a cardiologist, Dr. Norma Khoury, who ordered an EKG.

The EKG showed an ST segment depression, prompting Dr. Khoury to order a stress test and a follow-up evaluation.

The heart center that was to administer the test informed Reynolds that it would have to be rescheduled due to staffing issues.

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