March, 2019

OBT obtained a defense verdict in favor of an emergency medicine doctor and his group practice in Lake Superior Court (Crown Point, Indiana) on March 1, 2019.  The medical review panel found against some of the defendants against whom the case proceeded to trial.

A man with a history of medically controlled hypertension experienced a fainting episode and head trauma when he fell. After a disputed period of unconsciousness, the man awakened with combativeness, slurred speech, and left sided weakness.  Upon arrival to the Emergency Department, the man was worked up for possible stroke and a wide array of possible causes of his fainting episode.  The patient was admitted to the telemetry unit for further monitoring and workup by various specialties. The patient was discharged by other providers the following day.  On the way home from the hospital, the patient went into full cardiopulmonary arrest. He could not be resuscitated, and an autopsy determined his cause of death was an aortic dissection.

The plaintiff alleged that required testing, most notably a chest CT with contrast, was not done in the Emergency Department and nor during his hospitalization.  In support of their claims of negligence against the defendant emergency medicine physician, the plaintiff called both a Professor of Cardiology and a retained expert in emergency medicine.

In addition to support from the medical review panel, the defendants called a board-certified expert and clinical professor of emergency medicine.  All of these experts testified that the patient presented with no signs or symptoms reasonably suggestive of aortic dissection, that the defendants’ management of this patient in the emergency department complied with the standard of care, and that the defendants’ care was not a factor in the patient’s death. 

The trial was conducted over twelve days, after which time a unanimous verdict was returned in favor of the defendants.

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