Emergency Room Negligence- $750,000.00

Plaintiff's decedent, a 57 year old retired man, presented to his local emergency room on April 9, 2005 with a chief complaint of tight substernal chest pain for several hours prior to his arrival. His past medical history included hypertension and smoking one pack of cigarettes per day. An EKG was performed by defendant emergency physician and interpreted as having no abnormalities. Plaintiff's decedent was treated with various medications, including Donnatal, Lidocaine, Maalox, and Zantac, which gave him little or no relief from his chest pain. Morphine was then administered, and plaintiff's decedent began to experience lightheadedness and nausea, became pale and diaphoretic, and his blood pressure fell precipitously low. A repeat EKG was performed by defendant, and the printout indicated "borderline." Defendant noted that the repeat EKG showed "normal sinus rhythm compared to previous." Defendant's notes reflected that after four hours in the emergency room, plaintiff's decedent continued to have mild discomfort in the chest but was much improved. Defendant discharged plaintiff's decedent home, still with chest pain. His diagnosis was "atypical chest pain and GERD." Plaintiff's decedent was given a prescription for Protonix and advised to keep well hydrated with clear liquids and eat frequent small meals.

Later that same day, within seven hours of discharge, the plaintiff's decedent was found unresponsive by his wife. He was transferred by ambulance back to the emergency room where he was pronounced dead. The death certificate listed cause of death as cardiac arrhythmia due to cardiac ischemia secondary to coronary artery disease.

Plaintiff's experts were prepared to testify at trial that defendant emergency room physician failed to recognize that plaintiff's decedent's first EKG was not normal, that his medical and social history placed him at increased risk for coronary artery disease, and that his symptoms were cardiac in nature. Plaintiff's experts were further prepared to testify that applicable standards of care required serial enzymes, continued cardiac monitoring, administration of aspirin or heparin and in- hospital cardiac evaluation and testing. Defendant's experts were prepared to testify that nothing defendant physician did or did not do caused the plaintiff's decedent's death.

The case was settled two months before scheduled trial on behalf of the plaintiff's decedent's wife, who was his sole heir at law.