Multi-Million Dollar Recovery for Woman Requiring Heart Transplant Following Hospital's Failure to Treat on a Sunday

multimillion dollar recover for woman requiredTwo persistent failings of our health care system came together to deny Jane Doe the medical care she desperately needed in September 2002.

Jane was a young mother who on a Sunday morning began to feel pain and tightness in her chest radiating to her left arm and shoulder. Her husband rushed her to the emergency room at 8:30 a.m. where she had an abnormal EKG showing evidence of a heart attack.

Yet Jane did not get the care she needed - first, because she was a woman, and second, because it was a weekend.

The medical community routinely minimizes the cardiovascular problems of women, especially young women, and the weekend is the worst time to go to an emergency room or be in a hospital. Doctors do not like to come in on the weekends and the emergency room physicians, hospitalists and nurses are discouraged from calling them.

Despite the initial abnormal EKG, another one at 2:00 a.m. showing an evolving heart attack, and documented severe chest pain throughout the night, Jane did not see a cardiologist until almost 10:00 a.m. Monday morning.

Although the cardiologist immediately performed a catherization and stent, it was too late. Jane had suffered such extensive damage to her heart muscle that she had to have a heart transplant, extremely rare for someone so young. The case against the doctors and the hospital settled for a multi-million-dollar amount after discovery and mediation.

The transplant has given Jane a new lease on life, but, like all heart transplant patients, it is a limited lease. She now treasures every precious moment with her young daughter and strives to forget about the other children she and her husband can no longer have.

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