Cardiologist Loses $6.46M In Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
The family of a woman who blamed her cardiologist for her death recently won a $6.46 million settlement against the doctor. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the woman’s surviving spouse and two children. Another claim against the hospital itself was dismissed as part of the lawsuit. An attorney representing the defendant said he plans to appeal the verdict.
The deceased was transferred to a long-term care facility after being diagnosed with congestive heart failure, sepsis, and pneumonia. She died four days later. According to the plaintiffs, the doctor incorrectly assumed that pneumonia was causing her heart problems. However, it turned out that the woman had a viral infection in her heart that caused eventual heart failure.
According to the plaintiffs, the doctor misread the situation entirely. He erroneously believed that the issue was related to her lungs which were causing some heart issues. Instead, it was the reverse. The heart issues were causing some lung problems.
Medical issues related to this case
Interpretation is kind of an interesting concept in science because scientists avoid it at all costs. Medical doctors too try to avoid interpretation. Why? Well, it’s a guess. Your guess can be the most educated in the world and it will still, in some cases, be wrong. Hence the importance of running tests. In this case, the doctor presumed that the woman’s pneumonia was causing heart problems. Because of that erroneous guess, he missed straightforward signs of viral myocarditis. Had the infection been treated in a timely manner, the plaintiff would still be alive. Since it wasn’t, she is dead. Hence the doctor is responsible for her death.
Misdiagnosis and medical malpractice
People think that diagnostics is a method of interpretation, but it isn’t. It’s a matter of guessing and then testing to confirm. There is no diagnosis without confirmation. In this case, the doctor failed to even consider the proper diagnosis. While his instincts may have led him to guess that the lungs were responsible, testing for viral activity in the heart could have saved the woman’s life.
That being said, lungs causing heart issues isn’t necessarily a “bad” diagnosis. The doctor is not being held liable for guessing poorly. He’s being held liable for failing to confirm his diagnosis.
The defense strategy
The defense attorney representing the doctor argued the doctor’s point of view during the trial. He claimed that the woman died of lung failure and that the doctor’s diagnosis was correct. He further said that the woman would have died regardless of whether or not he intervened. Essentially, he argued, there was nothing he could do. On the finding of facts in the case, the jury held the doctor liable for misdiagnosing the patient, clearly siding with the plaintiff’s theory of the case. The defense maintains their diagnosis was correct and will appeal the decision.
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