Cook County Jury Finds for Doctor in Fatal Bleeding After Anticoagulation Therapy

In December 2009, Marion Peterson was admitted to Our Lady of Resurrection Hospital in Chicago because of respiratory distress. After several days in the intensive care unit, she was transferred to a stepdown unit and started on the anticoagulant Lovenox for atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation is an irregular heartbeat or an abnormal heart rhythm that can be characterized by rapid or irregular beating of the hart. Some would describe atrial fibrillation as a quivering heartbeat or an irregular heartbeat; it can be very dangerous and lead to stroke or heart attack or other health issues. Symptoms of atrial fibrillation include lack of energy, dizziness and heart palpations.

On Dec. 18, 2009, Coumadin was initiated, which is another anticoagulant. However, Peterson, 72, became hypotensive and had a dangerously low blood pressure the next day, Dec. 19, 2009; she also experienced a 3 to 4 gm drop in her hemoglobin level.

She was then seen by several doctors until her internist, the defendant Dr. Danail Vatev, arrived. Once Dr. Vatev was involved in the medical care, he ordered a repeat hemoglobin test, a CT scan and other diagnostic studies. The hemoglobin test showed that Peterson had anemia, and Dr. Vatev ordered a blood transfusion, fresh frozen plasma (FFP) and vitamin K to reverse the anticoagulation effects.

The CT scan showed a rectus hematoma and possible hemoperitoneum, which is blood in the peritoneal cavity of the abdomen.

Dr. Vatev ordered a surgical consultation with another defendant, Dr. Athanasios Diniotis, who denied that he was contacted. Peterson died the next day, Dec. 20, 2009, despite aggressive resuscitation efforts.

Her family filed a lawsuit contending that the defendant doctors chose not to properly treat her internal bleeding. The suit stated that Dr. Vatev should have started FFP sooner and in greater amounts, Dr. Vatev should have called for a surgical consultation earlier and if Dr. Diniotis was contacted, he should have physically evaluated the patient for surgery.

The defense for Dr. Vatev stated that it was a proper for him to order a repeat hemoglobin test when he arrived, that he responded appropriately after the results were available by ordering a blood transfusion and followed shortly after that with orders for FFP with Vitamin K. Defense also stated that a surgical consultation was not needed until the CT results were available.

Dr. Diniotis claimed that he was not called by Dr. Vatev and that even if he had been notified he would have advised continued medical management because the patient was hemodynamically unstable and there was no clear evidence as to the source of the bleeding.

The defendant further maintained that Peterson died from the effect of her anticoagulation, which was necessary to treat her.

Hemodynamic instability is when a patient is assessed to have an abnormal blood pressure or inadequate cardiac output.

The demand to settle the case before trial by the attorney for the Marion Peterson family was $2,200,000. There was no offer tendered by any of the defendants to try to settle the case. At the jury trial, the plaintiffs engaged experts in general surgery and family practice medicine. The defendants engaged experts in internal medicine and general surgery. Dr. Diniotis is a general surgeon, and Dr. Vatev is a general surgeon.

The jury’s verdict was not guilty as to all of the defendants in the case.

Estate of Marion Peterson v. Dr. Danail V. Vatev, et al., No. 11 L 190 (Cook County, Ill.).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling medical negligence cases, birth injury cases and nursing home abuse case for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of a medical provider for more than 38 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Franklin Park, Berkeley, Oak Brook, Willowbrook, Rolling Meadow, Palatine, Palos Park, South Holland, South Chicago Heights, Chicago Heights, Riverside, Roselle, Salk Village, Justice, Chicago (Sheffield, Printer’s Row, Lincoln Park, Back of the Yards, Belmont Craigen, Bronzeville, Bucktown), Hinsdale, Highland Park, Harvey and Calumet City, Ill.

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