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Interventional cardiologist's failure to timely seek surgical intervention results in death of 74-year old female

Type of Injury: Death
Type of Case: Failure to Diagnose
Settlement Amount: $600,000.00+

(Failure to Timely Diagnose and Treat Uncontrolled Pericardial Bleed; Failure to Properly Monitor and Ensure Patency of Pericardial Drain; Resulting in Anoxic Encephalopathy and Death) This lawsuit results from an injury, and subsequent death on May 1, 2003, sustained in the course of medical treatment that F-74 received at Rush North Shore Medical Center (n/k/a NorthShore University HealthSystem) in April 2003. On April 4, 2003, Plaintiff (a pack-a-day smoker, off and on for 45+ years) was admitted to Rush North Shore Medical Center with a history of marked shortness of breath for the last 3-4 days with chest pain. Between April 4, 2003 and April 8, 2003, Plaintiff underwent diagnostic work-up and treatment. On April 9, 2003, Dr. Carl Tommaso performed a coronary angiography, left heart catheterization, and percutaneous intervention of the right coronary artery with placement of three stents and a temporary pacemaker. Thereafter, she taken to the cardiac surveillance unit (“CSU”). Approximately one and half hours later, Plaintiff suffered a cardiac tamponade that Tommaso alleviated with pericardiocentesis (200 cc’s of blood removed) and he inserted of a pigtail catheter into the pericardium for draining. Plaintiff was then returned to the cardiac catheter lab where right coronary angiography, right ventriculography, left ventriculography and aortography was performed including the placement of an additional stent in the ostium of the right coronary after surgical consultation with Dr. Jonathon Somers (cardiovascular surgeon). No site for the bleeding was identified.

Plaintiff was taken to the medical intensive care unit (“MICU”) where she was monitored by Nurse Mary Mathew. Upon her arrival to the unit, Plaintiff’s medical records indicate approximately 1600 cc’s of blood drainage from her pericardium. Over the next two and half hours, Plaintiff bled an additional 1150 cc’s from her pericardial drain. At approximately 7:44 p.m., Plaintiff went into cardiac arrest and had a second cardiac tamponade, and a “Code Blue” was called. Dr. Osama Ibrahim, MD (2nd-year internal medicine resident) and/or Gupta, MD (cardiology fellow) withdrew 200 cc’s of blood from the pericardial drain using the attached syringe; it was concluded that the sole cause of the second pericardial tamponade was due to the accumulated 200 cc’s of blood. Plaintiff was then resuscitated, but her pupils were noted to be fixed and dilated; Plaintiff was found to have suffered anoxic encephalopathy secondary to her code. Dr. Somers was never re-consulted until after the code. Plaintiff’s condition continued to deteriorate thereafter until she was transferred to Hospice on April 22, 2003 and later died on May 1, 2003.

Plaintiff contended that Tommaso failed to timely seek surgical intervention to stop Plaintiff’s heart from continuing to bleed into her pericardium. Plaintiff contended that the hospital and Nurse Mary Mathew failed to properly monitor the patient and failed to ensure the patency of pericardial drain.

Defendant Rush North Shore Medical Center settled this matter after the trial judge, Hon. Deborah M. Dooling, denied its motion for summary judgment on the issue of proximate cause. Defendant Tommaso had already agreed to settle this matter.

Injuries: On May 1, 2003, 74-year old Plaintiff died as a result of pneumonia secondary to her anoxic encephalopathy. Plaintiff was survived by her three, adult children.

Specials: Medicals: N/A Lost Income: N/A Occupation: N/A

What Each Defendant Paid: Carl Tommaso, MD ($600,000). Rush North Shore Medical Center (confidential).

Insurance Company: ISMIS insured North Shore Cardiologists, S.C. and Carl Tommaso, MD. was a named additional insured. Rush North Shore Medical Center was insured by Chicago Hospital Risk Pooling Program (“CHRPP”).

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