Nashoba Publishing shared a story last week on the end of a medical malpractice and wrongful death trial. The general allegations made in the case are familiar to our Chicago medical malpractice attorneys, as we often work with community members whose loved ones pass away in situations that might have been prevented had caregivers acted properly. All of these cases which involve medical negligence are referred to as “medical malpractice” cases, and if the patient dies as a result a “wrongful death” claim is often added.
This particular story involves a man who died in 2006. An insurance salesman, the man first complained of chest pains while at work a few months before his passing. After indicating the problems, he was transported by an ambulance to a local hospital. He was given aspirin while in the ambulance by paramedics to act as a blood thinner to prevent more serious harm. However, mysteriously, when at the hospital, the staff members claimed that the man had not suffered a heart attack.
Medical professionals did not rule out any other possible coronary problems. Instead, they just discharged the man without much guidance. Strangely he was told to stop taking aspirin (which helps thin blood to prevent heart attacks). On top of that he was not advised to seek follow-up care or evaluation by a cardiologist. The plaintiff in the case claimed that the medical team essentially sent the man on his way without much help at all.
As often happens when these errors are made, the patient logically assumed his situation was not dire. Otherwise he should have received proper treatment from the medical team.
He didn’t know the truth. Only a few months later the man had a serious heart attack and died. An autopsy was performed which indicated that he suffered from prior heart damage and had coronary heart disease. Tragically, that damage and disease was not caught by the medical team when the man first complained of pain.
Eventually the man’s surviving family–a wife and two children–filed a medical malpractice suit. They logically claimed that the hospital was negligent in not properly treating the man or schedule follow up care which would have uncovered the underlying problem and likely saved his life.
About a month ago the medical malpractice case went to trial. After hearing all of the evidence from both sides the jury returned a verdict in favor of the family. The family was awarded $3.74 million dollars for the loss of their loved one.
The Illinois medical malpractice attorneys at our firm have seen heart cases like this one pop up often. Heart problems are perhaps the most common form of injury and death, and so it is obvious that medical care providers need to take claims of chest pain seriously. Patients are obviously relying on the basic advice of their medical caregivers when assessing their own risk and conduct. When a caregiver fails to identify serious problems, the consequences are often fatal, because patients do not receive the care they need.
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