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Emergency Room Heart Attack Misdiagnosis

Roby v. St. Agnes Healthcare

(Filed January 28, 2016)


  • Baltimore City


  • St. Agnes Hospital
  • A Silver Spring emergency room doctor
  • An internist (who is now at FutureCare)
  • Two Baltimore internists

Summary of Plaintiff’s Allegations

This is a heart attack misdiagnosis wrongful death claim filed in Baltimore City.

A 78-year-old man presents to Defendant St. Agnes Hospital’s emergency room with complaints of increased confusion, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, headache, weakness, fatigue, and difficulty walking. At no time is a diagnostic electrocardiogram (“EKG”) performed while he is in the ER.

The man is transferred from the emergency room to the hospital’s medical/surgical floor under the care of the Defendant doctors. He develops acute respiratory failure and cardiopulmonary arrest which requires intubation and transient resuscitation efforts. A medical emergency team is called, at which time an EKG is finally performed. The EKG demonstrates an inferior-posterior STEMI (heart attack) and prompts referral for emergent cardiac catheterization.

The man experiences periods where his pulse is transient. He requires intermittent CPR. His right coronary artery is stented with three bare metal stents and a temporary pacing wire and intra-aortic balloon are placed.

The man suffers another cardiac arrest while in the catheterization lab, requiring another resuscitation effort. After the procedure, he remains intubated and unresponsive. He is transferred to the coronary care unit where he is diagnosed with acute inferior-posterior STEMI, cardiogenic shock, hypoxic respiratory failure, severe metabolic/lactic acidosis, and post-cardiac arrest with possible anoxic encephalopathy. Despite continued medical support, the man dies.

The man’s wife, individually, and as personal representative of her husband’s estate, files a survival action and a wrongful death claim in Baltimore City. She claims St. Agnes Hospital and its doctors violated the standard of care by failing to timely and adequately recognize, diagnose, and treat her husband’s condition and timely order appropriate intervention to prevent his death. She claims that as a result of the Defendants’ negligence, her husband was forced to consciously suffer excruciating physical pain, emotional anguish, fear, and anxiety.


  • Failing to timely and adequately recognize, diagnose, and treat the cardiac problems the man was having
  • Failed to timely order appropriate intervention to prevent his death

Specific Counts Pled

  1. Survival Action
  2. Wrongful Death

Plaintiff’s Experts and Areas of Specialty

  • Gayle A. Galan, M.D. – board certified in the fields of emergency medicine and family medicine. Licensed to practice in Ohio.
  • Bruce D. Charash, M.D. – board certified in the fields of internal medicine and cardiology. Licensed to practice in New York.

Additional Comments

  • Heart Surgery Process Most heart attack fatalities occur before the victim gets to the hospital. Most failure to diagnose heart attack cases are those that make it to the hospital or doctor’s office promptly and either die there or get discharged after inadequate evaluation only to die at home hours later. Often, the doctor will misdiagnose a pending heart attack as indigestion.
  • The emergency room is a common place where an impending heart attack is missed. An estimated 20% of malpractice payouts in the emergency room are failure to diagnose a heart attack claims. Primary care doctors often face these lawsuits because patients often go to their PCP instead of the emergency room.

Getting a Lawyer for Your Malpractice Claim

If you have suffered as a result of the negligence of a doctor, nurse or other healthcare provider, our law firm can help you. You are entitled to justice and monetary compensation for the needless harm that has been done to you.

Miller & Zois has a very long history of results in medical malpractice and nursing home cases in Maryland, earning large verdicts and settlements. Call today to speak to a caring medical negligence attorney who can help you at 800-553-8082 or get a free online case review.

More Malpractice Claim Information

  • Looking for co-counsel for your malpractice claim? Learn about what Miller & Zois can deliver to you and your client.
  • Heart attack misdiagnosis claims
  • Here is a Baltimore case where Franklin Square is accused of blowing a diagnosis
  • Heart attack misdiagnosis cases, as we note above, are common. Here is another heart attack misdiagnosis case also filed in January 2016 in Montgomery County
  • Another heart attack misdiagnosis case also filed in Rockville against Kaiser within weeks of the preceding example
  • CALL 800-553-8082 or get a free online case review of your medical malpractice serious injury and wrongful death claims. Miller & Zois handles medical negligence claims throughout the entire state of Maryland and Washington, D.C.
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