When a person undergoes any sort of medical test in Louisiana or elsewhere, unless told otherwise, he or she likely assumes the physician has recommended the test as a necessary and relatively safe diagnostic tool. Unfortunately, in the case of one woman from another state, this assumption proved inaccurate. The woman died a few days after attending what she thought was a routine doctor's appointment, and a jury recently awarded her daughter $3 million in a medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital and the cardiologist who treated her. The award has since been reduced to $2.6 million, and the doctor was dropped from the suit.
In July 2014, the 61-year-old retired postal employee drove to her appointment with a heart specialist. She had been experiencing several medical problems, including shortness of breath. Based on the results of a stress test, the cardiologist decided to proceed with a cardiac catheterization and admitted the woman to the hospital. Reportedly, the test punctured her iliac artery, causing blood to leak into her lower abdomen, and doctors tried to repair the damage, first attempting to close the artery, then injecting a clotting agent. Three days later, she drove herself home from the hospital, although her daughter claims her chart indicated she was not doing well.
The following morning, a family member found her on the bedroom floor. She was rushed to the hospital, where doctors inserted a stent to try to stop internal bleeding. The stent did stop the bleeding, but too late, and unfortunately, she died the next day. During the trial, the plaintiff's lawyer said that the test may not have been necessary and that doctors should have attempted repairs immediately. However, the cardiologist testified that the catheterization was a necessary procedure in order to determine the best course of treatment.
Anyone who has suffered the loss of a loved one understands the challenging time that follows, especially if the death was unexpected and may have been prevented if medical professionals had provided better care. Often, in these types of situations, grieving family members will seek monetary compensation. Experienced medical malpractice attorneys can review case details and discuss legal options available through the Louisiana civil court system.