Heart Attack Misdiagnosis Lawsuit in Carroll County

Aznar v. Defendant Doctor

Heart Arrhythmia This is a failure to diagnose a heart attack lawsuit filed on behalf of a man in Carroll County against his primary care provider. It was filed in Health Claims Arbitration on February 15th. This is the 80th medical malpractice case filed in Maryland in 2017. You do not see a lot of medical malpractice cases filed in Westminister. This is only the second medical malpractice case filed in 2017 in Carroll County.

Summary of Plaintiff's Allegations

A 67-year-old man in overall good health is seen by defendant physician, his family doctor, in Carroll County, his primary care provider, for over ten years. One day, the man presents to defendant with two recent episodes of chest tightness while exercising. Plaintiff alleges that this symptom should have indicated that a concern for cardiac ischemia and a cardiologist referral was necessary. However, defendant doctor orders at EKG tracing and interprets it as normal. Defendant does recommend a cardiologist appointment, but does not make an urgent referral or conduct additional tests. The cardiology appointment is set for almost four months later.

The man returns to defendant a month before the cardiologist visit is scheduled, and a history and physical are done. Defendant still does not make an urgent referral or schedule an urgent exercise stress test.

The man once again returns to defendant the day before his cardiologist appointment with shortness of breath and chest discomfort. Like the prior visits, defendant orders an at-rest EKG and tells the man that there are no changes from the prior exams. However, during the appointment, he loses consciousness. CPR is attempted and the man is transported to Carroll Hospital in critical condition. Unfortunately, he dies from a myocardial infarction (heart attack).

His family hires a malpractice lawyer and files this claim against his primary care provider. The lawsuit alleges that if the primary care doctor would have urgently ordered an exercise stress test or urgently referred the man to a cardiologist when he first complained of chest pain, that the source of the man's cardiac ischemia would have been immediately diagnosed and treated. He would not have died.

Additional Comments
  • Plaintiffs' attorney hired an expert to testify that the symptom of chest tightness twice while exercising warranted more than an EKG and a recommendation that he go to a cardiologist (when he came back a few months later) was not a breach of the standard of care.
  • Miller & Zois settled two medical malpractice cases in Carroll County last year. At the mediation in both cases, the mediator was consistently stressing what a tough jurisdiction Carroll County is. We think a good case is a good case anywhere. But based on these facts alone, the plaintiffs might have a tough case. Carrol County is not the place to try toss-up cases. The doctor is going to have its pick of cardiology experts who are going to claim that such urgent action was not necessary without more symptoms consistent with a heart attack.
  • Because the case is about this one symptom, the details of the chest pain will be critical. What was the quality and character of the chest pain? Did it radiate? What made it better or worse? Had he ever had chest pains like this?
  • This is the second malpractice lawsuit filed in Carroll County this year out of 80 cases. It is a small sampling but you if you look at the volume of medical malpractice cases in our office, you would expect more malpractice cases filed in Westminister.
Jurisdiction
  • Carroll County
Defendants
  • A general practitioner
Hospitals Where Patient was Treated
  • Carroll Hospital Center
Negligence
  • Failing to appreciate the man's complaints of chest tightness on exertion represented a symptom of cardiac ischemic disease that required urgent evaluation by a cardiologist
  • Failure to monitor the man's condition in a timely and proper manner
  • Failure to order an urgent cardiac stress test and an urgent referral
Specific Counts Pled
  • Wrongful Death
  • Survival Action
Plaintiff's Experts and Areas of Specialty Getting a Lawyer for Your Failure to Diagnose Malpractice Claim

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