On June 4, 2021, after a one-week trial and three hours of jury deliberations, an Illinois medical malpractice jury consisting of eight men and four women returned its verdict in favor of the plaintiff in the amount of $1.1 million, finding that medical negligence during a cardiac cathererization procedure on a 75-year-old man on December 30, 2017 led to his death when an artery was torn during the procedure.
The cardiac catheterization was performed by Dr. Jan Skowronski at OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony Medical Center. Dr. Skowronski was employed by OSF Multi-Specialty Group at the time. Dr. Skowronski reportedly left Illinois and went to Alabama one month after the incident.
After the Illinois medical malpractice wrongful death jury returned its verdict, OSF HealthCare issued a statemnet: “We respect our court system and believe in its ability to resolve issues even though we disagree with this particular outcome. Our deep commitment to those we serve is unwavering.”
Cardiac catheterization involves the placement of a catheter into a blood vessel in the groin, arm, or neck. The catheter is threaded through the blood vessel into the aorta and into the heart. The tip of the catheter is placed into various parts of the heart to measure the pressures within the heart chambers or take blood samples to measure oxygen levels.
During or after a cardiac catheterization, an angioplasty may performed (a tiny balloon at the tip of the catheter is inflated to press any plaque buildup against the artery wall to improve blood flow through the artery), a stent procedure may be performed that expands a tiny metal mesh coil or tube at the end of the catheter inside an artery to keep it open, fractional flow reserve may be performed that is a pressure management technique used in catheterization to see how much blockage is in an artery, intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) may be performed to observe and measure the inside of blood vessels, or a biopsy of heart tissue may be performed.
Possible risks associated with cardiac catheterization include:
- Bleeding or bruising where the catheter is put into the body (the groin, arm, neck, or wrist)
- Pain where the catheter is put into the body
- Blood clot or damage to the blood vessel that the catheter is put into
- Infection where the catheter is put into the body
- Problems with heart rhythm (usually temporary)
More serious, but rare complications include:
- Ischemia (decreased blood flow to the heart tissue), chest pain, or heart attack
- Sudden blockage of a coronary artery
- A tear in the lining of an artery
- Kidney damage from the dye used
More than 1,000,000 cardiac catheterization procedures are performed annually in the United States. Significant advances in the equipment used for cardiac catheterization, the improved skill of the operators, and newer techniques have significantly reduced the rates of complications associated with cardiac catheterization.
The risk of major complications during diagnostic cardiac catheterization is usually less than 1%, and the risk of mortality is 0.05% for diagnostic procedures. For any patient, the complication rate is dependent on multiple factors and is dependent on the demographics of the patient, vascular anatomy, co-morbid conditions, clinical presentation, the procedure being performed, and the experience of the operator.
If you or a loved one may have been injured (or worse) as a result of a negligently performed cardiac catheterization in the United States, you should promptly find a medical malpractice lawyer in your state who may investigate your cardiac catheterization medical malpractice claim for you and represent you or your loved one in a cardiac catheterization medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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