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ER Doc Runs No Tests, Patient Dies

When an ER doctor runs no tests on a patient, despite recent surgery, and the patient dies, a wrongful death verdict may be imminent.

A visited an Urgent Care center. A 39-year-old woman (plaintiff) had worked at a local nursing home as ER Doc Runs No Tests, Patient Diesa Certified Nursing Aide for a number of years. As a result, she developed a bunion on her foot. She underwent a bunionectomy. The podiatrist noted that there were factors that made her susceptible to a blood clot. When discharged after surgery, she was placed on post-surgical blood thinners. One week after finishing the blood thinners, the patient had pain.

She complained of back and leg pain. She visited an Urgent Care center operated by the same hospital. There was a dispute over the location of the source of her pain (leg or back). In light of her recent history, it would have been reasonable to order tests that would enable the doctor to evaluate the presence of a blood clot. The ER Doc, however, did not order tests for deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Instead, he sent her home with a non-specific diagnosis of back pain.

Eight days after visiting the urgent care center, the plaintiff collapsed in her bedroom in the presence of her husband and her son. She was rushed to the hospital, but efforts to revive her were unsuccessful. She died from a pulmonary embolism. It was determined that the clot in her surgical leg had traveled to her lung. Surviving her were her husband, a 17-year-old son, and an 11-year-old daughter.

When the case was presented to a jury in court, the urgent care center defended the doctor with a claim that there were no classic symptoms present for a DVT. The defense also tried to justify the doctor’s actions by noting that the plaintiff had no pain in her calf, no swelling of the calf, and no erythema.

The plaintiff’s legal team used arteriograms to show that the plaintiff’s DVT had developed not in her calf, but in her thigh. For this reason, she would not have presented the “classic signs” of DVT. The team also pointed out that in light of the recent surgery, six weeks of immobilization, and the risk factors noted by the podiatrist DVT testing should have been performed. This testing would have revealed the DVT when it could have been treated successfully.

After deliberating for four hours, the jury asked if they could establish a college scholarship for each of the plaintiff’s two children. They were informed that they could not do this. The jury then awarded the plaintiff’s family $12 million.

If you or a loved one has been harmed by the medical malpractice of a medical practitioner, or if a loved one has died wrongfully due to the negligence of a medical practitioner, you may be entitled to recover financial compensation for your losses. Call Altizer Law, PC in Roanoke, VA for a free initial consultation with an experienced medical malpractice and wrongful death attorney. With their unique combination of compassion and aggressive representation, Bettina Altizer and her experienced team will fight for the largest possible financial settlement for your hurts and losses. They understand that after loss of a loved one or serious injury due to negligence, the legal case is about the money.