CASE STUDY 3:
Heart Attack Ignored While Patient Is In Coronary Care
Curan & Ahlers represented a hardworking familiy-man from Rockland County, New York, who was married 30-plus years, had three children and ran his own carpentry business. One night while at home he thought he was having a heart attack. His wife called an ambulance and they went to the hospital. At the hospital they tested him and said, “He’s not having a heart attack. It’s some angina, but we’ll keep him overnight in the cardiac care unit and check him in the morning.” So his wife, relieved, went home and went to sleep.
In the morning she called her husband to see how he was doing. He answered the phone in his bed, and while they spoke started having a heart attack. Usually while a patient is in cardiac care, any indication of a heart attack sets off alarms and brings medical attention immediately. But that wasn’t the case this time. His wife hung up the phone and called the hospital, saying, “My husband’s having a heart attack!” The hospital replied, “No, he’s in cardiac care, it can’t be. He’s fine.” She continues to scream, “He’s having a heart attack. Get in that room.” She then hung up the phone and raced to the hospital.
When she arrived the medical team was using a defibrillator on her husband. After numerous attemps, they were able to revive him. However, by the time they recognized the problem and were able to resuscitate him he had suffered severe brain damage. He would be incapable of going back to work or supporting his family and there was no hope for him for recovery.
Curan & Ahlers resolved their case so that the family did not have to worry about money and would be supported for the rest of his wife’s life. They remodeled the house to make it wheelchair accessible for him, and she was able to provide him with the physical therapy and other treatment he needed. Though the family was tragically devestated, the successful legal action ensured that the family would not be financially destroyed as well.