Massive heart attack after visit to ER
A Kansas City woman with a 100% blockage in the left anterior descending artery believes she is lucky to be alive after she was sent home from the hospital without an electrocardiogram, according to a civil lawsuit filed in Platte County.
Blockage of the artery is sometimes called the widow-maker.
Courtney Allen, 38, of Kansas City in Clay County, has filed a medical malpractice suit against Saint Luke’s North Hospital located in Platte County, Metro Emergency Physicians and Saint Luke’s Health System, alleging she was harmed because of their negligence.
According to the 13-page petition for damages filed Wednesday, Aug. 19, Allen arrived at Saint Luke’s Northland Hospital on July 2, 2019, complaining of abdominal pain, which “made it difficult to breathe.” The triage nurse, the suit says, labeled Allen’s acuity level as urgent.
Courtney Allen’s husband, who brought her to the hospital, asked the medical professionals if the discomfort in his wife’s chest could be related to her heart, the suit says. The physicians checked her pulse and blood pressure but did not believe that was the case, according to the lawsuit. The suit contends the patient was deprived of an electrocardiogram and sent home with a diagnosis of “epigastric pain.”
But her condition did not improve, and Allen returned to Saint Luke’s Northland on July 4. This time, the physicians ordered an electrocardiogram, which indicated a possible restriction in blood supply to her tissues.
The lawsuit points out the physicians noted in the patient’s paperwork that there was “no previous to compare to.”
With the information gained from the electrocardiogram, physicians then performed a cardiac catheterization, which “showed a 100% occlusion” of Allen’s left anterior descending artery.
Heart disease is the number one killer of women.
Allen’s attorney, Lance Victor Baughman of Lee Summit, contends the hospital and physicians failed to “institute and enforce policies, procedures, and protocols that recognized the risk that women having a heart attack present with ‘atypical’ chest pain, such as epigastric pain.”
Even if the physicians mistakenly believed the pain was not caused by the heart, the lawsuit criticizes the defendants for failing to take the necessary actions to “rule out a cardiac origin” for her pain.
Consequently, the defendants’ negligent action failed to prevent a massive heart attack that “caused substantial damage to her heart,” the suit alleges.
The lawsuit says Allen has been placed on a heart transplant list and will have to return to the hospital for a heart transplant when one becomes available.
The suit contends Allen suffered the permanent death of the heart muscle because of the defendants failure to live up to their required duty of care. In determining whether the defendants breached their duty of care, a judge or jury will determine if that is how a reasonable person would have acted given the exact circumstances.
Allen and her husband are seeking upward of $25,000 in compensation for past and future medical expenses.