Medical Malpractice: $500,000 jury verdict for misdiagnosis of heart attack / myocardial infarction (ER physician and hospital negligence) *
Our diabetic client was 34 years old when she developed chest pain and nausea. She went to the emergency room where an EKG was done, but it was normal. The ER doctor didn’t order cardiac enzyme tests or other diagnostic tests and wrongly concluded our client had a simple case of the flu; however, because our client had a long history of insulin-dependent diabetes since she was a toddler, she had a very high risk of heart disease. The ER doctor wasn’t aware of this risk factor and sent our client home without any treatment. Approximately 1 week later, our client went to an urgent care center with weakness and feeling ill and was told she had heart failure from an untreated heart attack (myocardial infarction).
Prior to trial we offered a reasonable settlement, but the defendant hospital refused to pay more than $3,000 (three thousand dollars) and the ER doctor refused to pay a dime.
The defendants alleged our client’s heart attack was extremely unusual because she was a woman and was only 34 years old. However, it’s well documented women are frequently underdiagnosed with heart attacks and many wrongly presume most heart attack victims are men.** Our experts explained 30+ years of insulin-dependent diabetes causes severe blood vessel damage and high risk of a heart attack, regardless of age.
The defendants also claimed our client’s heart attack and heart failure happened after the ER visit, and that she did in fact have the flu. Further, the defendants blamed our client (contributory negligence) for her failure to be diligent with routine doctor visits prior to her heart attack. We educated the jury about diabetes and heart disease in women, and explained how diagnosis and treatment for an impending heart attack can prevent heart failure. After an 8-week trial*** the jury agreed with our theory of the case and rendered a verdict for $500,000.
*Ms. Chalfant’s successful settlements do not guarantee the same or similar result for every case but are presented to demonstrate her knowledge of medicine, medical malpractice litigation skills, and successful track record. Every case is unique with varying facts and circumstances.
**Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States and can affect women at any age.
***At the time of this 8-week jury trial, nurse-attorney Marjorie Chalfant was 7 and 8 months pregnant with her third child. The jury rendered their verdict exactly one month prior to the birth of her daughter.