October 10, 2012

A medical malpractice jury in Iowa was unable to reach a decision in a medical malpractice case as of Monday, October 8, 2012. The jury deliberated for about three hours before being sent home and instructed to return to court on October 9, 2012 to continue with its deliberations. The medical malpractice claims are against a local hospital and its emergency room doctor for failing to admit a 68-year-old man who had gone to the emergency room during February, 2009, complaining of shortness of breath. He died two days later while being transported to the hospital in an ambulance due to respiratory arrest related to blood clots in his lungs.

The Iowa medical malpractice case filed by the man’s surviving widow and his family alleged that the emergency room physician committed medical malpractice when he failed to admit the man into the hospital as an inpatient during his first visit to the emergency room. The family alleges that had the man been admitted during his initial visit, he would not have died as a result of respiratory arrest due to blood clots in his lungs.

The defendant emergency room doctor alleged during trial that his treatment of the man’s shortness of breath in the emergency room was proper: he ordered the appropriate lab tests, an EKG was obtained, chest x-rays were taken, the man had a stress-echo test performed, the emergency room doctor reviewed an earlier CT angiogram from two weeks prior that had been ordered by the man’s primary care physician, and he consulted with a pulmonary specialist before discharging the man to home from the emergency room, with instructions to see a pulmonary specialist.

The medical malpractice plaintiffs alleged during trial that more extensive medical testing was necessary, including a second, current CT angiogram that would have detected the man’s blood clots in his lungs. The man and his family objected to his discharge to home and insisted that the man be admitted into the hospital to address his complaints and to determine the cause of his shortness of breath.


Medical malpractice claims involving emergency room care in hospitals continue to be a significant source of claims of medical negligence. Emergency room malpractice claims often accuse the emergency room staff with a failure to conduct appropriate medical testing in a timely fashion, failure to properly diagnose patients’ medical conditions, failure to timely and properly treat patients’ medical conditions, and/or the failure to admit patients into the hospital for appropriate inpatient care that allegedly would have avoided the harms suffered by patients who were inappropriately sent home from the emergency room.

If you or a loved one may have suffered injuries or other harms as a result of what may have been inappropriate care or the lack of appropriate care in a hospital emergency room, you should promptly seek the advice of a local medical malpractice attorney who may be willing to investigate your possible emergency room malpractice claim for you and file a medical malpractice case on your behalf, if appropriate.

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