Lifelong love ended by medical malpractice

They were teenage sweethearts who got married and raised a family. When the husband died of a heart attack 22 years after they had taken their wedding vows, he was still a young man of 40.

Everyone no doubt agrees that that’s a young age at which to have a heart attack. According to a jury in a recent medical malpractice trial, the untimely death might have been averted if a hospital emergency room doctor had not dismissed the heart attack as a common stomach ailment.

This tragic example of doctor negligence did not happen here in Joplin, but this sort of substandard care, though rare, can happen anywhere. The widow of the man who died in 2008 was recently awarded $4 million in an Alabama medical misdiagnosis case.

According to documents filed in court, the man started to feel sick to his stomach after eating breakfast one morning. Two days later, still feeling sick, he went to the ER complaining of chest pain and other symptoms.

Instead of ordering a blood test to check on the condition of his patient’s heart, the doctor sent the man home after a few hours, telling him that he had a stomach virus or flu.

Unfortunately, the man continued to feel sick after leaving the hospital. Just two days later, he fell, clutching his chest and telling his wife to call for an ambulance. Though he was rushed to the hospital, doctors there could not save him.

The man is survived by his wife and their two children.

An attorney in the case said that “a great weight has been lifted off her shoulders,” knowing that she was able to get justice from the jury for her husband.

Source: AL.com, "Walker County jury awards woman $4 million in medical malpractice case," Kent Faulk, August 20, 2014

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