News and Events

Bill Ranard Wins $2 Million Wrongful Death Claim on Failure to Diagnose an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

March 9, 2016Related Practice Areas: Medical Liability
William W. Ranard

Plaintiff's decedent, 60 year old male, presented to the emergency room on Memorial Day, May 28, 2001, at Beloit Memorial Hospital complaining of back pain radiating to the left groin with a sudden onset. The patient was seen in the emergency room by the ER physician who performed a history and physical and ordered a urinalysis, straining of the urine and a urine culture due to suspicion of kidney stones. Upon straining the urine, a small black fleck was found. The urinalysis demonstrated signs of urinary tract infection. The patient was given pain medications including two doses of Dilaudid. The nurses noted a decrease in pain at the time of discharge which occurred at 0140 on May 29, 2001. The patient was discharged with a diagnosis of urinary tract infection, kidney stones, and renal colic. The patient was ordered to see an urologist within one day and prescriptions for pain medication and Ciprofloxacin, an antibiotic, were given. 

 

The patient returned to the emergency room by ambulance at 06:38 on May 29, 2001, complaining of shortness of breath. A CT scan was performed at 08:00 showing a 9 centimeter abdominal aortic aneurysm. Emergency surgery began at 09:00. However, the patient never regained consciousness after the surgery and passed away at 7:41 p.m. on May 29, 2001. 

 

The plaintiff alleges that the defendant failed to take an appropriate history, failed to perform an appropriate physical exam, and failed to order the appropriate diagnostic tests as required by the standard of care.  Further, the plaintiff alleges that had the appropriate testing been performed, the AAA would have been diagnosed and the surgery would have been performed when the survival rate was approximately 90%. Plaintiff alleges that the next morning when the surgery was performed, the plaintiff's decedent's likelihood of survival was 0%. 

 

The defendant asserted that he met the standard of care in all respects. Defendant claimed no further diagnostic tests were needed due to the fact that a stone had been recovered (black fleck). Plaintiff claimed fleck was not a stone. The defendant further asserted that the plaintiff's decedent would not have survived the surgery even if the condition had been diagnosed the night before. 

 

Plaintiff demanded $700,000, plus $758.14 for medical expenses, approximately $8,299 for burial expenses, $426,112 in economic damages, and $1.25 million for loss of consortium.

 

The jury returned a verdict of not guilty.

 

The above summary is specific to a particular case and is not intended as a projected outcome on any other matter.

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