$1.5 Million Recovery for Wrongful Death Due to Aortic Dissection Misdiagnosis

Heart Attack, Hospital Malpractice, Wrongful Death

From John’s Casebook: Aortic Dissection Misdiagnosis

On January 11, 2018, The New York Injury & Malpractice Law Firm, P.C. recovered $1,500,000 in a partial settlement of a wrongful death action arising from the death of a 38-year old male from an aortic dissection.

An aortic dissection is a tear in the inner lining of the aorta (the body’s main blood vessel that extends from the heart to the pelvis).  An aortic dissection is an emergency medical condition that requires surgery and if untreated, poses a high risk of sudden death within 7-14 days.

While teaching junior high school in Schoharie, New York, the decedent experienced the sudden onset of chest tightness, abdominal pain radiating to his back, and the loss of sensation in his left leg. While en route to a hospital in Schenectady, New York, the paramedic was unable to palpate a pedal pulse in the decedent’s left ankle and he lost motor control and coordination in the leg.

An aortic dissection can cause a lack of blood flow to the heart and lower extremity and the combination of chest/abdominal pain and loss of sensation in the leg are the hallmark symptoms of an aortic dissection. In the presence of those symptoms, an aortic dissection must be ruled out with a CT scan of the chest, pelvis and abdomen.

However, no testing was performed to rule out an aortic dissection after 11 hours in the emergency department and the patient was sent home with the diagnosis of migraine headache.  6 days later, the male died suddenly while at work.

The settlement will help fund a settlement preservation trust for the decedent’s wife and 4-year old son.