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Heart Attack Misdiagnosis Lawsuit in Montgomery County

Mora v. Primary Care Doctor

(Filed January 14, 2016)


  • Montgomery County


  • Primary care doctor
  • Doctor’s LLC

Summary of Plaintiff’s Allegations

This is a heart attack misdiagnosis case. Plaintiffs allege that a reasonable and prudent primary care doctor would have recognized the symptoms of coronary artery disease and referred the patient to a cardiologist.

A 49-year-old Prince George’s County man goes to his primary care doctor complaining of chest pain. The man visits the Defendant doctor’s office six more times over the course of the next nine months. He repeatedly complains of pain radiating from his chest to his neck and in both of his arms. He has shortness of breath and upper back pain. In other words, the man is having all of the classic symptoms of a blockage that could lead to a heart attack. These clinical symptoms literally scream high risk for coronary artery disease.

The Defendant doctor fails to recognize the seriousness of the man’s symptoms. As a result, the man’s left anterior descending artery (“LAD”) atherosclerotic stenosis goes undiagnosed. He dies three weeks later.

The man’s wife and three children bring a wrongful death lawsuit in Montgomery County. They claim that the Defendant doctor should have known, based on the man’s symptoms and medical history, that he was at substantial risk for coronary heart disease. They allege that the Defendant doctor violated the standard of care by failing to promptly refer the man to a cardiologist. A cardiologist would have discovered the man’s LAD stenosis and addressed it by bypass surgery or angioplasty/stenting, preventing his untimely death.

If this man had been referred to a cardiologist, an angiography (catheterization) would have likely been ordered. This would have almost certainly found the man’s blockage. This is a test that directly can look at a person’s coronary arteries by threading a hollow, flexible tube up an artery and threading it all the way to where the coronary arteries come out, and injecting an x-ray dye into the coronary arteries so that the coronary arteries will show up on a fluoroscope. The doctor can actually see them on the fluoroscope and see if there are narrowings.


  • Failed to timely refer the man to a cardiologist

Specific Counts Pled

  1. Wrongful Death

Plaintiff’s Experts and Areas of Specialty

  • Steven W. von Elten, M.D.: Practiced family medicine in Virginia since 1977. Board certified in family medicine, clinical lipidology, and emergency medicine.

Additional Comments

  • Heart Attack MisdiagnosisA LAD blockage is not a good artery to have blocked. It is the artery that originates on the side of the aorta. The artery comes straight down the front of the heart and provides all the blood flow to the front part of the heart muscle.
  • This type of misdiagnosis case is common with primary care doctors. Plaintiffs’ malpractice attorneys are not expected to argue that the deviation from the applicable standard of care is the failure to order the appropriate diagnostic tests. Instead, a primary care doctor is often charged with knowing just enough to know that the patient is at risk and needs treatment from a physician who specializes in the area where there is a concern.
  • This man lived for three weeks after his heart attack. He likely experienced some suffering and incurred significant medical bills. It is surprising that no survival action was brought for those damages or the opportunity to have a higher cap on damages.

Getting a Lawyer for your Malpractice Claim

If you have been harmed or a loved one has been killed as the result of a doctor’s misdiagnosis, we can help you get the justice and compensation you deserve. Miller & Zois has a history of results, earning substantial verdicts and settlements in wrongful death and medical malpractice cases. Speak to a medical malpractice attorney today at 800-553-8082 or get a free, no obligation online case review.

More Malpractice Claim Information

  • Just to give you some idea of how typical these cases are, here is another very typical heart attack wrongful death misdiagnosis case also filed in Rockville against Kaiser within a month of this case
  • Example verdicts and settlements in heart attack misdiagnosis cases
  • Another sample heart attack misdiagnosis case, this time in the emergency room 
  • Get information on misdiagnosis claims in Maryland
  • What is the most you can get for a malpractice claim in Maryland?
  • CALL 800-553-8082 or get a free online medical malpractice injury and wrongful death claims. We handle claims throughout the entire state of Maryland.
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