Articles Posted in Cardiology Errors

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.
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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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Graciela Gomez McCallum was diagnosed as having cardiomyopathy and atrial fibrillation for which she was prescribed Coumadin therapy and placed with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). She was in her mid-70s when she consulted with a cardiac electrophysiologist, Dr. Peter Garcia, and cardiologist Dr. Jose Marquez, who managed her cardiac care.

Approximately five years after Gomez McCallum began the Coumadin treatment, Dr. Marquez discontinued it. Several months later Gomez McCallum suffered a stroke that left her with left-sided paralysis and cognitive difficulties. She now requires care 24 hours a day.

She sued Dr. Marquez and his employer as well as Dr. Garcia alleging negligent discontinuation of Coumadin. The lawsuit alleged that Dr. Marquez had discontinued the blood thinner despite the patient’s history of chronic atrial fibrillation, chose not to confirm that she was no longer experiencing atrial fibrillation by evaluating her ICD downloads, and failed to consult with Dr. Garcia concerning his findings and recommendations.
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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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After the death of 2-year-old Miranda Eid, Miranda’s parents, Mohammed and Lisa Eid, filed a lawsuit against Loyola University Medical Center alleging negligent medical treatment following her pacemaker replacement surgery.

Lisa Eid also sought damages for reckless infliction of emotional distress based on Loyola’s nurses leaving medical tubing in place when Miranda’s body was released for burial. The Cook County jury returned a verdict in favor of Loyola; the Eids appealed.

On appeal, the Eid family argued that (1) the jury’s verdict in favor of Loyola on the claims of medical negligence and reckless infliction of emotional distress was against the manifest way of the evidence; (2) the circuit court erroneously upheld Loyola’s claim of privilege under section 8-2101 of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure (known as the Medical Studies Act) (735 ILCS 5/8-2101 et seq. (West 2012)) for information that was generated for the use of Loyola’s peer review committee when a designee of Miranda’s treatment and instructed another member of the committee to assemble information concerning the incident; (3) the circuit court improperly instructed the jury on the law concerning the claim of reckless infliction of emotional distress; and (4) defense counsel’s alleged improper remark during closing argument confused the jury, and the additional instructions the circuit court gave the jury did not correct the alleged confusion.
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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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Robert Firkins was 67 and suffered from chronic renal disease and cardiac issues. Before having orthopedic surgery, he underwent an angiogram done by an interventional cardiologist, the defendant, Dr. Scott Harris. Dr. Harris, who had been instructed by Firkins’ treating nephrologist to use a minimum amount of contrast dye, used 160 milliliters of dye during the angiogram, which lasted 94 minutes.

After the procedure, Firkins developed atheroemboli, resulting in ischemia in his right lower leg, significantly increased creatinine levels and worsening kidney disease that now has necessitated dialysis three times each week. In addition, Firkins required a below-the-knee amputation a month after the angiogram.

Firkins and his wife sued Dr. Harris, claiming that he used an excessive amount of contrast dye and negligently performed the angiogram. The Firkins family claimed that the defendant doctor should have kept the dye under 100 milliliters and finish the procedure within 35 minutes. The lawsuit did not claim lost income.
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A Cook County jury signed a verdict after answering a special interrogatory in this medical malpractice case related to the prescription of a drug Adriamycin, which is given to cancer patients for chemotherapy and is known to cause heart damage as one of its risks.

The special interrogatory given to the jury was: “Do you find that the conduct of Dr. Weyburn (the oncologist), as set forth in the (jury) instructions was negligent and that such negligence was a proximate cause of Beata Gorgon’s injuries?”  The answer given by this jury was “No.”

Beata Gorgon, 44, presented to the defendant Dr. Thomas Weyburn, an oncologist, in August 2008 for treatment of Stage 3 breast cancer. Dr. Weyburn prescribed Adriamycin for the chemotherapy regimen. Dr. Weyburn contended in this lawsuit that he ordered an echocardiogram for Gorgon prior to the start of the delivery of the Adriamycin and then elected to start giving the drug before she underwent the test.

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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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