On December 9, 2019, a Pennsylvania medical malpractice wrongful death jury returned its verdict in the amount of $6,308,000 in favor of the wife of a 48-year-old man who died from acute myocardial infarcation (heart attack) due to severely constricted cardiac arteries, six weeks after the defendant cardiologist have given him a clean bill of health regarding any cardiac issues. The jury of ten men and two women deliberated for less than one hour after a six-day trial before returning its verdict.
The man, who had a family history of cardiac problems, had gone to his family doctor on July 11, 2016 with complaints that included episodes of radiating chest pain and shortness of breath accompanied with nausea and sweating. The family doctor referred the man to the defendant cardiologist, who examined the man two days later and diagnosed him as having panic attacks and anxiety. The man had had a stress echocardiogram in September 2015 that showed no abnormality. His most recent cardiac lab studies and EKG were also normal. The man allegedly told the defendant cardiologist that he had no problems when exercising, including running.
On August 23, 2016, the man was jogging when he suffered the fatal heart attack. His body was found in a ditch by a passerby. An autopsy determined that the man had died due to an acute myocardial infarction and that his coronary arteries were severely restricted.
The wife’s Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawyer stated after the verdict, “He did everything he was supposed to do. His cardiologist did not pay enough attention to the details and dismissed his symptoms as noncardiac. That error cost Jim his life. We are gratified that the jury saw the truth and reached the correct result.”
The defense attorney stated after his client was found liable for the man’s death, “After hearing testimony from a nationally renowned expert from Penn State Medical Center who agreed that St. Luke’s provided the best possible care to the patient, it is disappointing that the jury reached a different conclusion and awarded a shockingly high sum. While we respect the decision of the jury, tort reform is very much needed in this country so that awards are within the realm of reasonableness.”
Is $6.3 million a “shockingly high sum” to compensate the man’s wife for the loss of her 48-year-old husband, who was employed as a lieutenant at a state prison and left behind a child? Should a law be imposed that vacates an unbiased jury’s determination of the value of a person’s life that was needlessly cut short by the negligence of a medical provider?
If you or a loved one have been harmed as a result of possible medical malpractice by a cardiologist in Pennsylvania or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find a Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawyer, or a medical malpractice lawyer in your state, who may investigate your cardiologist malpractice claim for you and represent you or your loved one in a cardiologist medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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