Heart disease is a leading cause of death in America, but it is often detectable and treatable.
Sometimes heart disease manifests through well-known signs and symptoms such as chest pain, dizziness, or shortness of breath on exertion, giving healthcare providers the opportunity to detect and treat it before it develops into a heart attack (known medically as a myocardial infarction).
In other situations, a person has had a heart attack before receiving care. When this happens, there are still a number of treatment options that can potentially limit the amount of damage done and prevent further damage. Some of these options include balloon angioplasty, coronary artery stenting, coronary artery bypass grafting (“CABG”) and valve replacement surgery. But the key to success is recognizing the potential problem and acting quickly to perform the right tests and render the proper treatment.
A third type of situation arises from negligence during and after cardiac surgery. Surgical procedures often require a disruption of blood flow that can cause catastrophic injuries if not managed properly. After surgery, doctors and nurses must monitor their patient very closely for signs that any of the affected blood vessels might leak or that other complications, such as infection might arise.
An example of a cardiology case handled by the attorneys at Kelley | Uustal is the case of a man in his thirties who needed a valve replacement operation. The surgeon operated on the man, and then never saw him again. He left the post-operative care to his nurse. Over the next few days in the hospital the sutures leaked, and the man bled into his chest. Each day the chest x-ray would show his lungs filling more and more with blood, and his laboratory values showed he was losing blood – but the doctor never saw him, and the nurse didn’t figure it out. When he lost so much blood that he became disoriented and confused from lack of blood and oxygen to his brain, the nurse diagnosed a panic attack and gave him Xanax to relax him. He died hours later, having bled to death over the course of days in a hospital. We secured a confidential settlement for the family.