Ruptured Aortic Aneurysm Lawsuit in Dorchester County

Windsor v. Anonymous Doctors

This is a failure to diagnose a ruptured aortic aneurysm lawsuit filed against two cardiologists in Cambridge. This case was filed on March 20, 2017, in Health Claims Arbitration. It is the 129th medical malpractice lawsuit filed in Maryland in 2017 (and the first one filed in Dorchester County).

Summary of Plaintiff's Allegations

A man goes to defendant doctors with abdominal pain after being a patient of theirs for three years. Defendants are aware that he is known to have an aortic aneurysm. An aneurysm is a permanent and irreversible localized dilatation of a vessel(bulging in the aortic walls). Many aortic aneurysms do not cause symptoms, however they can either leak or burst if they become too large. The man's abdominal pain is new, and upon exam, defendants find a pulsatile aorta (mass) that was not present on other exams. Defendants order a CT angiogram of the man's aorta and recommend a follow-up in three months.

The CT is performed the following day. It takes another four days to be interpreted. It is at this point that it is discovered the man's aortic aneurysm has enlarged since a study one year ago and that it is consistent with a chronic contained rupture. Defendants advise him to go to Easton Memorial Hospital to be stabilized and then transported to Johns Hopkins to have the aneurysm repaired.

While he is at Easton Memorial Hospital, the man is stable but has increasing abdominal pain. While waiting to be transported, there is a sudden pop. He becomes, as is the classical case with a ruptured aneurysm, hypotensive and pulseless. An emergency exploratory laparotomy is done, and he is transferred to Hopkins where they find a three-centimeter hole in his aorta.

Due to the aorta being completely ruptured and the substantial amount of blood loss, the man's bowel begins to become restricted. He condition continues to deteriorate. He dies within three days from his ruptured aortic aneurysm.

The man's family and their medical malpractice lawyers allege that upon first presentation of the abdominal pain and the mass that the defendants should have sent him to the emergency room because his symptoms were consistent with a ruptured aortic aneurysm.

Additional Comments
  • Man Being Transported to HospitalThe most common symptom of abdominal aortic aneurysm is abdominal pain or discomfort. The patient has a history of aortic aneurysms. Plaintiff's malpractice lawyers are going to argue that dissection of the aorta and aortic aneurysm should be part of the differential diagnosis from the second that man related his history. Many patients with this man's history are told by their doctors f you've got any severe abdominal pain (or back or flank pain) to the emergency room and tell them you have an aneurysm.
  • Sometimes, careful palpation or feeling of the abdomen can reveal an abnormally wide pulsation. Listening with a stethoscope may unveil an abnormal sound that is caused by turbulence of blood within the aneurysm. Aneurysms on the verge of rupture, as this man's clearly was, are frequently tender to the touch. Clearly, the cardiologist found at least a mass on the man's stomach.
  • Catching these an aortic aneurysms before they rupture is critical. After an aneurysm ruptures, only approximately 25% of patients reach the hospital alive, and only 10% reach the operating room alive. This man was already in the hospital. But the statistics underscore that time is of the essence.
  • It may be that the best thing the defendant doctors have going for them in this case is a Dorchester County venue. This is historically a very conservative county that gives the benefit of the doubt to doctors.
  • Defendants are also going to argue that the risk of rupture is relatively low for aneurysms 5.5 cm or less in diameter.
Jurisdiction
  • Dorchester County
Defendants
  • Two Cambridge, Maryland cardiologists
Hospitals Where Patient Was Treated
  • Easton Memorial Hospital
  • Johns Hopkins Hospital
Negligence
  • Failure to properly and adequate treat the patient
  • Failure to timely follow-up on the patient's complaints, signs, and symptoms
  • Failure to send the patient to the emergency room for evaluation of his aortic aneurysm and symptoms
  • Failure to notify the patient's vascular surgeon of the potential need for surgery
Specific Counts Pled
  • Wrongful Death
  • Survival Action
Plaintiff's Experts and Areas of Specialty
  • Morton R. Rinder, M.D. - licensed in Missouri and Maryland; board-certified in Internal Medicine and Cardiology
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