Andres Sousa* was a successful artist and musician in his homeland of Brazil. He had received national and international acclaim and had been the recipient of many awards throughout his lifetime. Approximately 25 years ago, he came to the United States with his young bride where he continued his studies and pursued his career. Eventually, they had two children who grew up to be successful adults in their own right.
With the children out of the house, it was now time for Andres and his wife Natalia to enjoy their lives together. After walking his dog, Andres felt some discomfort and upper gastric pain radiating down his left arm. He called fire rescue who transported him to a local hospital. There the emergency room physician noted that he had a family history of heart disease, in addition to his history of acid reflux. Nonetheless, the doctors could not rule out a cardiac event and an EKG was performed.
Eventually, Andres was discharged and sent home. Two days later, his pain resumed and became unbearable. He again was taken to the same local hospital where another emergency room physician treated him. Another EKG was done. This EKG came back as abnormal and suggested that Andres was suffering a heart attack. Regardless, the emergency room physician ignored this notation and did not order any type of cardiac workup. The emergency room physician instead thought that Andres was suffering from epigastric pain and was just having a bout of heartburn. He was admitted to the telemetry unit where the physicians could keep a vigilant eye on him.
Unfortunately, the nurses did not see the order for telemetry and put him in a regular room. Had Andres been admitted to telemetry, the floor nurse would have been able to see any changes to his vital signs.
When he was first admitted to the hospital, an advanced registered nurse practitioner came to see him instead of the admitting physician. The nurse practitioner failed to take an adequate history and did not review Andres’s medical chart which showed the family history of heart disease as well as the abnormal findings in the last EKG. Instead, the nurse blindly followed the suggestions of the emergency room doctor and admitting physician and attributed all of Andres’s complaint to heartburn.
That night, Andres was very uncomfortable and complained of a lot of pressure around his chest. His family visited him and promised to see him the next day. Unfortunately, later that night, Andres was found unresponsive. He had had a massive cardiac event and his heart stopped. Since the nurses had failed to monitor him, no one knew the distress his heart was going through.
The family was destroyed. Andres’s wife, Natalia, and their children came to see David Sampedro because of a recommendation by a family friend who was also an attorney.
David hired experts in the areas of emergency medicine, cardiology, internal medicine, nursing, and gastroenterology. David sent various health care providers a notice of intent to sue, which is required prior to initiating a medical malpractice lawsuit. During the pre-suit period, the attorneys for many of the health care providers admitted their responsibility and offered to participate in a non-binding pre-suit mediation. During that mediation, the majority of the health care providers agreed to immediately settle the case.
The others felt that they had no responsibility. Accordingly, David filed suit and the case was litigated. Eventually, the matter was resolved shortly after the case was set for trial. David was able to resolve the matter for a confidential sum of money.
There is no amount of money that can ever replace Andres and what he meant to his friends and family. Unfortunately, in cases of significant injury and death, our legal system can often to do little more than award monetary compensation to help the victims of negligence cope with their loss.The funds secured in this recovery will help Natalia plan for her financial future and grant her the freedom necessary to support, care for, and enjoy her family, including her grandchildren.
*Due to the confidentiality nature of the settlement, the names of the parties to the claim have been changed.