Attorneys Carol Nelson Shepherd & Patricia M. Giordano recently recovered a seven-figure confidential settlement from a primary care physician for the death of a 29-year-old New Jersey husband and father of six young children, caused by the physician’s failure to recognize the signs and symptoms of a deep venous thrombosis/pulmonary embolus which resulted in his death after the surgical repair of a broken leg.
Approximately three months after the surgery, the patient complained that his chest hurt, he was coughing up blood and had difficulty breathing. Despite these symptoms, the primary care physician concluded that the patient had bronchitis. That evening, he continued to cough up blood but, reassured by the physician’s diagnosis of bronchitis, he took no further action. The next morning, Mr. Doe collapsed at home. 9-1-1 was called and as emergency medical technicians transported him to the hospital, he went into cardiac arrest. He was unable to be revived and died within an hour of his collapse. An autopsy revealed massive bilateral pulmonary emboli with visible blood clots emanating from the surgically repaired lower leg.
Doe’s widow claimed that given the history of the fractured leg and surgical repair with attendant decreased activity, the physician should have considered and ruled in or out the possibility of a DVT/PE. Shortly before trial, the carrier for the primary care physician agreed to settle the claim. With the settlement proceeds, his widow was able to purchase a home and to put money away for their children’s education.