Jury is Deadlocked After Trial in Cardiac Death Claimed Due to Improper Diagnosis and Medication

A jury deliberated 12 hours over two days before it was deadlocked, unable to reach a verdict by unanimous consent. The jury was deadlocked 8-4 or 7-5 in favor of the defendant Dr. Ian J. Goldberg.

This case arose out of an April 25, 2009 event, when Michael Knorps experienced crushing chest pain, shortness of breath and diaphoresis. Diaphoresis is a medical term for sweating profusely. Paramedics came to the 52-year-old Knorps giving him nitroglycerin, which completely relieved his chest pain. He was admitted to St. Alexius Hospital in Hoffman Estates, Ill., and was diagnosed with unstable angina. EKGs, cardiac enzymes and a cardiology consultation were all ordered. Knorps, 52, was seen the next day by a cardiologist, Dr. Ian Goldberg, who suspected coronary artery disease and recommended cardiac catherization/angiogram.

The angiogram was done the following day by Dr. Sumeet Sachdev, who found only mild coronary disease with 20% blockage of the left anterior descending artery and no disease in the other coronary arteries.

Knorps was discharged on April 28, 2009 on statins, a beta blocker, nitrates and aspirin. He saw Dr. Goldberg for a follow-up visit on May 19 and reported no further pain. Dr. Goldberg discontinued the beta blocker, reduced the nitrate dosage and told Knorps to return in six months.

On May 30, 2009, he developed chest pain again and died during the transport to Alexian Brothers Hospital. An autopsy revealed 80% blockage of the left anterior descending artery and 50% blockage of the right proximal coronary artery.

Knorps was a retired police officer and was survived by his parents and two sisters. The family filed a lawsuit contending that the defendants — the two doctors — failed to diagnose myocardial infarction and coronary vasospasm. It was alleged that he exhibited a typical presentation of coronary vasospasm with clear unstable angina. The cited guidelines, the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and American Heart Association (AHA) required unstable angina and coronary vasospasm to be treated with Plavax, aspirin, along with nitrates and calcium channel blockers, but only nitrates and aspirin were prescribed. It was also alleged that dual-antiplatelet therapy would have prevented Knorps’s sudden death from plaque rupture, and the full drug regimen protocol would have increased his likelihood of survival.

The defendants argued that there was no evidence of non-ST elevation myocardial infarction and the troponin levels were inconsistent with that diagnosis, heart attack. The EKGs showed only non-specific findings. An ST elevation is an abnormal finding on an electrocardiogram. An elevated ST segment may signal a myocardial infarction. Troponin is a complex of three proteins that is associated with muscle contraction and the heart muscle. The measure of troponin is used as a marker to identify a myocardial infarction or heart muscle cell death.

Defendants claimed that the reports in the case showed borderline elevated troponin levels and that there was a lab error and nothing more than an anomaly. Further, they claimed that there was no basis to diagnose an angina as there was no spasm during the angiogram and no ST elevations on EKGs during an episode of chest pain. Also, the defendants maintained that their care and treatment was appropriate, the patient suffered rapidly progressive coronary artery disease associated with a plaque rupture, which resulted in his sudden cardiac death, and that his death could not have been predicted or prevented based on his clinical presentation.

Michael Knorps’s counsel asked the jury to return a verdict of $4,750,000. There was no offer to settle. The jury spent parts of two days deliberating before the case was considered a mistrial because of the deadlocked jury. Illinois requires unanimous verdicts.

This case will undoubtedly be retried or hopefully settled before another lengthy new trial. The attorneys representing the Knorp family were Stephan Blandin, Michael Holden and Erin Calandriello.

Estate of Michael Knorps v. Dr. Ian J. Goldberg, D.O., Dr. Sumeet Sachdev, 11 L 5281 (Cook County, Ill.).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling medical negligence cases 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 Brookfield, Maywood, Orland Park, Evergreen Park, Palatine, Rosemont, Rolling Meadows, Mundelein, River Grove, Des Plaines, Niles, Morton Grove, Skokie, Wilmette, Winnetka, Glencoe and Highwood, Ill.

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