$5.2 million ‘failure to diagnose’ heart attack medical malpractice suit upheld

A $5.2 million wrongful death award has been upheld by Pennsylvania Superior Court in the medical malpractice claim by the widow of Gregory S. Volutza, 37, who died of a heart attack while at work as a pharmacist.

A Pennsylvania Superior Court upheld a 2009 Berks County medical malpractice award to the widow of Gregory S. Volutza, 37, who died in 2003.

seattle medical malpractice lawyerIn 2009, the lower court jury award Volutza’s widow, Dianne, the $5.2 million malpractice settlement.

Volutza had seen his family physician, Dr. Donald J. McBryan Jr. for chest and jaw pain and anxiety but Dr. McBryan did not send Volutza immediately to the emergency room. Just four days later, Volutza called Dr. McBryan experiencing the same symptoms but went into cardiac arrest and died before he could speak to McBryan.

Symptoms of a heart include discomfort to the upper body including chest and discomfort in the arms, back, new, jaw or upper stomach. Volutza’s symptoms aligned with someone who is having a heart attack, and coupled with the fact that he was overweight, had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, was suffering from anxiety and had a family of heart disease, McBryan should have sent him straight to the hospital.

“Failure to diagnose” makes up approximately 40% of medical malpractice cases. When a physician is presented with symptoms that they cannot diagnose, they should hand the patient off to a physician who can. In cases where a patient has high risk factors for a certain condition, the physician should be aware of these factors and monitor the patient closely. Clearly McBryan did not provide Volutza with a “standard of care” — the care another physician would provide given the same training and experience and in similar circumstances.

In Washington state, wrongful death statutes allows the family of someone who was wrongfully killed or died due the negligence of another, to recover damages on behalf of their deceased loved one.

This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured by medical malpractice and the family of those who have died with their wrongful death claims.

$5.2 million malpractice award against ex-Wyomissing doctor upheld, The Reading Eagle, 8/20/2011
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