A Missouri medical malpractice jury awarded a man and his wife $6.4 million on July 5, 2013 for a stroke the man suffered in 2007. The basis for the man’s medical malpractice lawsuit was his primary care physician’s failure to diagnosis and treat his bacterial infection that led to a stroke, which would have been prevented with timely and appropriate medical treatment.
In 1996, the physician had diagnosed the man with mitral valve prolapse (a heart condition in which the valve that separates the upper and lower chambers of the left side of the heart does not close properly), that resulted in the backwards flow of blood in the heart. The physician ordered an echocardiogram in 2001 that showed the continuing mitral valve prolapse condition. Despite the diagnosis and the results of the echocardiogram in 2001, the physician failed to refer the man to a cardiologist and did not follow-up regarding the man’s mitral valve prolapse after March 2002.
In April 2007, the man complained to his physician that he was fatigued, had a loss of appetite, and was suffering abdominal pain. The physician referred him to other physicians for medical testing but did not refer the man to a cardiologist. The man’s condition continued to deteriorate to the point that the man thought he was dying and resulted in the man’s wife contacting her husband’s physician in May 2007, requesting that the physician admit her husband into the hospital. The physician deferred hospitalizing the man until the results from medical testing conducted by a hematologist would be received.
Unfortunately, the man suffered a stroke on June 12, 2007 due to a bacterial infection of his heart valve. The stroke resulted in the man having limited use of the right side of his body, difficulty with word processing, and short-term memory loss problems. The man has been unable to return to his former employment as a bank examiner and IT specialist for the Federal Reserve Bank due to his impairments.
The medical malpractice defendants were the man’s physician and the physician’s medical practice. The defendants argued to the jury that they were not negligent in the care of the man and that in any event, their alleged negligence was not the cause of the man’s stroke and resulting injuries.
Fortunately for the medical malpractice plaintiffs, the jury believed that the medical care that the now 59-year-old man received from his physician was deficient and that had the proper care been timely provided, the man would not have had a stroke and he would have avoided his injuries caused by the stroke.
According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, most people who have mitral valve prolapse do not require medical treatment because they do not have symptoms and complications. Those who do have symptoms of mitral valve prolapse may not need treatment. The presence of symptoms does not always mean that the backflow of blood through the valve is significant. However, those with troublesome mitral valve backflow usually need treatment with medication, surgery, or both.
If you or a loved one may be the victim of medical malpractice in Missouri or in another U.S. state, you should promptly seek the legal advice of a Missouri medical malpractice attorney or a local medical malpractice attorney in your state who may be able to represent you in your medical malpractice case.
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