How much have juries awarded and what settlements have been reached recently in cases involving unnecessary cardiac procedures?
Verdict Total: $0
April 5, 2017
Medical malpractice action against doctor for allegedly negligently performing unnecessary transesophageal electrocardiogram
A 65-year-old man, who had recently undergone gastric bypass surgery, complained to his doctor of lightheadedness. The doctor noted the man had an increased heart rate.
The doctor performed a transesophageal electrocardiogram (TEE) on the man. An alternative to transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE), TEE is an echocardiogram in which a specialized probe containing an ultrasound transducer at its tip is passed into the patient's esophagus to record image and Doppler evaluations of the structures of the heart. During the TEE, the probe perforated the man’s stomach, producing a large fistula tract, an abnormal connection or passageway that connects two organs or vessels that do not usually connect, extending down toward the base of his left lung.
The man sued the doctor and his practice group for medical malpractice. The complaint alleged that the doctor deviated from accepted standards of care because he negligently chose to perform a TEE where a TTE would have been safer for a man who had recently undergone gastric bypass surgery, performed the TEE, failed to recognize that the specialized probe he utilized for the procedure had penetrated the man’s stomach, and failed to immediately request a GI consult for the remediation of the perforation.
The doctor and his practice group denied liability.
After a trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the doctor and his practice group.
See: Goldstein v. Vafai, et al., 2017 WL 5171059 (Fla.Cir.Ct., 2017) (Verdict and Settlement Summary) (not designated for publication).
Verdict Total: $0
August 5, 2016
Medical malpractice and lack of informed consent against cardiologist for allegedly negligently performing unnecessary angioplasty and stent procedure
A man had an asymptomatic recurrent left carotid artery atherosclerosis, plaque build-up inside the carotid artery. His cardiologist confirmed the man had between 70 and 80 percent stenosis (narrowing) of his left carotid artery. Consequently, the cardiologist recommended the man undergo a left carotid angioplasty and stent placement, procedures to open the left carotid artery to restore blood flow to the brain.
The cardiologist performed a left carotid angioplasty and stent placement procedure on the man. Following the procedure, the man died due to a hypoperfusion event, a type of stroke where global brain ischemia occurs when blood flow to the brain is halted or drastically reduced.
The man’s estate sued the cardiologist for medical malpractice and lack of informed consent. The complaint alleged that the cardiologist deviated from accepted standards of care by failing to properly perform the angioplasty and stenting procedure, recommending the procedures to the man for his asymptomatic recurrent left carotid artery stenosis, and failing to recommend appropriate anticoagulant therapy.
The cardiologist generally denied liability. The cardiologist contended that he complied with the applicable standards of care when recommending the procedures after confirming 70 to 80 percent stenosis of the left carotid artery. The cardiologist claimed that the man understood the risks associated with the procedures and gave his informed consent due to his significant concern regarding future strokes.
The case proceeded to a jury trial. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the cardiologist finding no negligence.
See: Clements v. Larson, 2016 WL 6962206 (Colo.Dist.Ct., 2016) (Verdict and Settlement Summary) (not designated for publication).
Verdict Total: $0
July 20, 2016
Medical malpractice against vascular surgeon for allegedly negligently ordering an unnecessary CT angiogram delaying surgery and resulting in amputation
A man presented to the emergency room (ER) with an injury that had impaired his circulation (vascular compromise). He was transferred to another hospital’s ER. A surgical resident evaluated the man. The surgical resident then paged the vascular surgeon on call. When the vascular surgeon learned of the severity of the man’s injury, he proceeded to the hospital. The vascular surgeon ordered a CT angiogram. After receiving the results of the angiogram, the vascular surgeon performed surgery on the man. The man’s right leg was amputated above the knee due to prolonged time without any blood flow or abnormal blood flow to his lower leg, which had resulted in tissue necrosis.
The man filed a medical malpractice action against the vascular surgeon. The complaint alleged that the vascular surgeon deviated from accepted standards of care by failing to treat the man’s case as a surgical emergency; failing to take the man to surgery in a timely fashion; failing to get to the hospital in a timely fashion; ordering an unnecessary CT angiogram, which contributed to the surgical delay; and failing to request an operating room on an emergent basis.
The vascular surgeon disputed the man’s claims. He asserted that the man was not transferred to the hospital where he was on-call until about 4 p.m. at which point a surgical resident, on the vascular surgeon’s behalf, saw and evaluated the man. From that point on, the vascular surgeon was involved in formulating a treatment plan for the man. The vascular surgeon further asserted that there was no standard as to how many minutes he had to respond to pages and that he did not have to be present when the level of vascular compromise was known. He added that he had no duty to immediately proceed to the hospital or facilitate the man’s surgery on an emergent basis until 4:22 PM, when he first learned of the severity of the man’s injury from the ER.
The case proceeded to a jury trial. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the vascular surgeon.
See: Rainey v. Bade, 2016 WL 8737837 (Va.Cir.Ct., 2016) (Verdict and Settlement Summary) (not designated for publication).
Verdict Total: $1,272,300
April 19, 2016
Medical malpractice and lack of informed consent against vascular surgeon for negligently performing an unnecessary angiogram
A vascular surgeon examined a 66-year-old man suffering from discitis, inflammation between the intervertebral discs of the spine, and osteomyelitis, bone inflammation caused by infection. The vascular surgeon diagnosed the man with an enlarging thoracic aortic aneurysm, an abnormal widening or ballooning above the diaphragm of the body's largest artery due to weakness in the wall of the blood vessel. The vascular surgeon recommended an angiogram, an X-ray test that uses a special dye and camera (fluoroscopy) to take pictures of the blood flow in a blood vessel.
The man underwent the angiogram. The angiogram contributed to a delay in treating his discitis and osteomyelitis. After the angiogram, the man suffered a stroke.
The man filed a medical malpractice and lack of informed consent claim against the vascular surgeon. The complaint alleged that the vascular surgeon deviated from accepted standards of care by failing to employ adequate diagnostic procedures and tests; failing to diagnose the man’s conditions carefully and expeditiously; failing to employ appropriate medical and surgical treatments and procedures; failing to carefully evaluate the effects of the chosen treatments; failing to adjust the treatments in response to evaluations of the effects of prior treatments; failing to obtain informed consent; failing to exercise reasonable care in the preoperative treatment of the man; relying on an AP, an X-ray picture in which the beams pass from front-to-back (anteroposterior), and lateral X-ray for determining the size of an abdominal aortic aneurysm without obtaining a confirmation CT scan; and proceeding with the angiogram without obtaining a CT confirmation of the size of the aneurysm.
The vascular surgeon denied liability.
The case proceeded to a jury trial. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the man. The jury found that the vascular surgeon was negligent and caused injury to the man, but did not fail to obtain the man’s informed consent. The jury awarded the man a total of $1,272,300 comprised of $100,000 for pain and suffering, $165,230 for past medical expenses, and $1,007,070 for future medical expenses.
See: Hibshman v. Jabaji, 2016 WL 6350274 (Md.Cir.Ct., 2016) (Verdict and Settlement Summary) (not designated for publication).
Verdict Total: $0
April 13, 2016
Medical malpractice against oral surgeon for allegedly negligently replacing pacemaker instead of removing pacemaker
A 68-year-old woman had an implanted pacemaker. The pacemaker became infected. Her cardiologist installed a new pacemaker. She developed endocarditis, an infection of the heart's inner lining, and an infection in her pacemaker pocket that required another surgery for removal.
The woman filed a medical malpractice claim against the cardiologist. The complaint alleged that the cardiologist deviated from accepted standards of care by installing a new pacemaker, installing a pacemaker that was not necessary based on her history, and improperly installing the pacemaker.
The cardiologist denied violating the standard of care.
The case proceeded to a jury trial. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the cardiologist.
See: Dials v. Velury, 2016 WL 10516178 (Ky.Cir.Ct., 2016) (Verdict and Settlement Summary) (not designated for publication).
Verdict Total: $0
November 7, 2013
Medical malpractice and informed consent against cardiologist and cardiothoracic surgeon for allegedly negligently recommending and performing unnecessary bypass surgery
A 47-year-old woman suffered from a partially blocked coronary blood vessel. She sought treatment from a cardiologist. The cardiologist performed a left heart catheterization with selective coronary angiography. Subsequently, a cardiothoracic surgeon performed a robotic single vessel small bypass surgery. The woman developed steal syndrome, insufficient blood flow due to an alteration of circulation patterns, and recurrent chest pain.
The woman filed a medical malpractice and informed consent claim against the cardiologist and cardiothoracic surgeon. The complaint alleged that the cardiologist deviated from accepted standards of care by negligently recommending heart bypass surgery when the blockage was not sufficient to make bypass surgery necessary, performing an unnecessary cardiac catheterization, and failing to perform a precatheterization low-level stress test. The complaint alleged that the cardiothoracic surgeon deviated from accepted standards of care by negligently and unnecessarily performing the bypass surgery, failing to ensure the bypass surgery would address the disease process, and failing to use proper care to perform the bypass surgery.
The cardiologist and cardiothoracic surgeon denied liability and contended they had not breached the applicable standard of care.
The case proceeded to a jury trial. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the cardiologist and cardiothoracic surgeon.
See: Hebert v. Jones, et al., 2013 WL 7897986 (La.Dist.Ct., 2013) (Verdict and Settlement Summary) (not designated for publication).