Deceased’s Estate Recovers for Significant Damages from a Doctor Due to a Misdiagnosed Heart Attack

The family of a 42-year-old father of two children from the Ontario city of Tottenham recovered significant damages for the negligent treatment Dad received over several years from his Newmarket family doctor and a local clinic. Over almost a decade, his health care providers failed to follow up or order additional testing despite clear signs that he had suffered a previous myocardial infarction (MI), or heart attack, and that he would likely have severe problems with his heart in the future.

One day, Dad saw his family doctor complaining of sharp pains in his chest. Tests showed elevated blood pressure and elevated LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol). Many MI risk factors had already been identified five years earlier by the same doctor: he was a heavy smoker; he had a family history of heart problems, he had high cholesterol and was under stress. Despite knowing that cholesterolemia is the main cause of atherosclerosis, or that high cholesterol causes blockage of the arteries, his family doctor ordered no follow-up assessments or check-ups after this visit five years earlier. Additionally, no tests were repeated to ensure Dad’s cholesterol levels were under control. This time, however, a cardiologist performed an electrocardiogram (ECG), which showed a previous anteroseptal MI. Dad was referred back to his family doctor, who told him to go to the emergency room. A repeat ECG that same day showed a possible remote anteroseptal MI, but no further tests or follow-ups were ordered.

Dad’s health problems continued over the next two years; he visited the clinic four more times for problems including flu-like symptoms and respiratory tract infections. On the fifth visit, two years after the ECGs, he came to the clinic with pain in his left shoulder. Even though his symptoms included pain deep in his chest, a sore neck and was noticeably anxious about a problem with his heart, he was told that he was experiencing simple musculoskeletal pain. He was told to take some Advil, apply heat to the area and to rest.

Dad visited the clinic two more times after this for various reasons. About four months after his last visit, and 8 years from when he was first identified as being at risk for a heart attack, Dad collapsed at a party and could not be resuscitated. The autopsy showed he died of an acute MI and a severe triple vessel coronary atherosclerosis, as well as mild cardiomegaly and mild left ventricular hypertrophy.

The family of a 42-year-old father of two children from the Ontario city of Tottenham recovered significant damages for the negligent treatment Dad received over several years from his Newmarket family doctor and a local clinic. Over almost a decade, his health care providers failed to follow up or order additional testing despite clear signs that he had suffered a previous myocardial infarction (MI), or heart attack, and that he would likely have severe problems with his heart in the future.

One day, Dad saw his family doctor complaining of sharp pains in his chest. Tests showed elevated blood pressure and elevated LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol). Many MI risk factors had already been identified five years earlier by the same doctor: he was a heavy smoker; he had a family history of heart problems, he had high cholesterol and was under stress. Despite knowing that cholesterolemia is the main cause of atherosclerosis, or that high cholesterol causes blockage of the arteries, his family doctor ordered no follow-up assessments or check-ups after this visit five years earlier. Additionally, no tests were repeated to ensure Dad’s cholesterol levels were under control. This time, however, a cardiologist performed an electrocardiogram (ECG), which showed a previous anteroseptal MI. Dad was referred back to his family doctor, who told him to go to the emergency room. A repeat ECG that same day showed a possible remote anteroseptal MI, but no further tests or follow-ups were ordered.

Dad’s health problems continued over the next two years; he visited the clinic four more times for problems including flu-like symptoms and respiratory tract infections. On the fifth visit, two years after the ECGs, he came to the clinic with pain in his left shoulder. Even though his symptoms included pain deep in his chest, a sore neck and was noticeably anxious about a problem with his heart, he was told that he was experiencing simple musculoskeletal pain. He was told to take some Advil, apply heat to the area and to rest.

Dad visited the clinic two more times after this for various reasons. About four months after his last visit, and 8 years from when he was first identified as being at risk for a heart attack, Dad collapsed at a party and could not be resuscitated. The autopsy showed he died of an acute MI and a severe triple vessel coronary atherosclerosis, as well as mild cardiomegaly and mild left ventricular hypertrophy.

Sommers Roth & Elmaleh Professional Corporation has over 40 years of experience in medical malpractice litigation in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Ontario, and across Canada.

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The above information is not legal advice. Past results of cases and recoveries by our medical malpractice lawyers against hospitals, doctors, midwives, nurses and other healthcare professionals are not necessarily indicative of future results. The amounts recovered and other litigation outcomes will vary according to the facts in individual cases.