A recent Illinois settlement in a Cook County medical malpractice claim sought to compensate the family of a 53 year-old man who died during a heart transplant surgery. The issue in the Illinois wrongful death case was whether the man would have even required the surgery if his internist had correctly interpreted test results from several years preceding his death.
The decedent had undergone regular annual exams with his internist, which each year included an electrocardiogram (EKG) that was performed by the internist. EKGs are typically used to analyze a patient’s heart rhythm and identify any abnormalities. The internist interpreted all of the decedent’s EKGs from 1998 to 2002 to be normal.
However, in November 2002, the man suffered a massive heart attack, which resulted in extensive heart damage. At that point a triple bypass surgery was performed and a pacemaker was placed. However, from this point forward the man was unable to continue his previously-active lifestyle due to his congestive heart failure. Nor was he able to return to his job as a baggage handler because it was too demanding considering his present condition.
The decedent’s condition continued to worsen and eventually his doctors recommended him for a heart transplant. It was during this transplant that the man died as a result of extensive and uncontrollable bleeding.
In the Illinois wrongful death claim, the decedent’s estate argued that if the internist had correctly interpreted the EKGs from 1998 through 2002 and had referred the decedent to a cardiologist in a timely manner, then his heart abnormalities could have been diagnosed as early as 1998. Had this been the case, the estate further argued that timely treatment would have allowed the decedent to enjoy a normal life expectancy. The decedent’s estate alleged that the medical negligence from the years of missed cardiac abnormalities directly resulted in the decedent’s pain, suffering, and eventual death.
While the defendants argued that the decedent’s heart attack would most likely have occurred even if he had been referred to a cardiologist much earlier, they settled the medical malpractice lawsuit out of court. The settlement will go to decedent’s estate. He is survived by his wife and 5 adult children.
Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Cook County medical malpractice cases and Illinois wrongful death lawsuits for over 30 years, serving those areas in and around Chicago, including Oak Lawn, Rosemont, Wheaton, and Skokie.