Sometimes family doctors (or Primary Care Physicians, “PCP’s”) ignore the obvious, with disastrous results. This case is about a 47-year-old husband and father of two who went to his primary care physician complaining of frequent episodes of shortness of breath. The PCP ordered testing and concluded that his symptoms were “asthmatic in quality.” Two days later the gentleman collapsed in his front yard. He passed away while on route to the hospital.
An autopsy determined that the cause of death was a massive acute pulmonary embolization occluding both principal pulmonary arteries. The deceased had a prior history of two deep vein thromboses of which his doctor was aware as he treated Mr. Doe for the condition and the history was listed in the record under “past medical treatment.” The decedent’s widow hired WilliamsFord to bring this case forth against the primary care physician. A medical expert hired by the attorneys at WilliamsFord opined that the defendant physician should have immediately sent the decedent to the emergency room for further testing, given his prior medical history. The case settled during negotiations with the medical malpractice insurer for the doctor in the amount of $1,600,000.00.