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ER docs accused of failing to diagnose a heart attack

Just like in other parts of the country, emergency rooms in Oregon hospitals can quickly get crowded with patients who need immediate care. While emergency room doctors often have to make the best decisions they can in a short period of time, they still can be held accountable for a failure to diagnose when a condition goes untreated.

In another part of the country, a medical malpractice trial is underway following the sudden death of a patient who visited the emergency room of a hospital. After the patient suddenly died while in the emergency room, an autopsy revealed that the man had an "irregular heart beat with coronary artery disease".

According to his man's family, the failure to properly test this patient and the resulting delayed treatment foreclosed any chance the man would have had to recover from the heart failure that ultimately killed him.

Other doctors have testified that the emergency room staff should have done more to verify the patient's condition. Apparently, the emergency room staff never bothered to give the man an electrocardiogram, even though according to one doctor doing so would have been helpful to diagnosing the man correctly.

However, according to the hospital's attorney, the emergency room staff checked the man when he came to the ER for treatment. While it is not clear why he came to the emergency room in the first place, the hospital's lawyer also claims that the man did not mention anything about the recent chest pains he had been noticing.

Even in the high-pressure environment of an emergency room, patients must still receive a timely diagnosis and treatment. When a failure to diagnose means that a patient dies, the family of that patient may seek appropriate financial compensation for their loss.

Source: Twin Cities.com, "New Ulm hospital target of wrongful death trial underway in Brown County," April 24, 2013

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