Medical Expert Witness

Could An ECG Have Saved A Life?

A 42-year-old woman with a history of smoking, hypertension, anxiety, and panic attacks had been the patient of Dr FP, a family practitioner, for 10 years. Two days after her last visit with Dr FP, the patient presented to the emergency room with shortness of breath and chest pain…, Malpractice Case: Could an ECG Have Saved This Woman?, Gordon T. Ownby, 2021


At the hospital, tests revealed findings consistent with acute inferior lateral myocardial infarction, an occluded right coronary artery,


global hypokinesis and inferior akinesis, and an ejection fraction of 30%.


A balloon pump was placed, but surgery could not proceed because of the clopidogrel administered in the ER. When a stentfailed to establish reflow, the patient was treated with tissue plasminogen activator, verapamil, and nitroglycerin. After transfer to the ICU and intubation, the patient experienced multiple recurrences of cardiac arrest before CPR was terminated, followed by her death.


Family members filed a lawsuit against several healthcare defendants over the care rendered. In addition to alleging that Dr FPshould have been more urgent in her cardiology referral, they claimed that Dr FP’s failure to perform an EKG on the first of the visits contributed to her death. The lawsuit against Dr FP resolved informally.


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