Failure to diagnose, treat coronary artery disease

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Case in Point

May 21, 2013

Failure to diagnose, treat coronary artery disease 

The plaintiff—who suffered a heart attack requiring surgeries and leading to a reduced life expectancy—alleged that his cardiologist interpreted as normal a catheterization test that actually showed a 70-percent blockage in one of his main arteries. The jury awarded $25 million plus interest. Denton v. Chu.

Christopher Denton, 37, experienced sudden and severe chest pain. He was rushed to a hospital and then transferred to another facility, where cardiologist Edward Chu performed a cardiac catheterization. Chu reported that Denton’s arteries were free of disease, diagnosed a virus, and prescribed over-the-counter medication. Denton’s chest pain continued, however, and he suffered a heart attack about three months later. Subsequent testing revealed that the catheterization test Chu had performed showed a 70-percent blockage in one of Denton’s main heart arteries.

As a result of the heart attack, Denton required seven additional cardiac procedures, including bypass surgery. He will also likely require a future heart transplant and has a reduced life expectancy.

Denton sued Chu, alleging he failed to timely diagnose and treat coronary artery disease. Suit did not claim lost income.

The jury awarded $25 million plus about $4.5 million in interest.

Citation: Denton v. Chu, No. CL12-94 (Va., Hampton City Cir. Feb. 14, 2013).

Plaintiff counsel: AAJ members Jason W. Konvicka and Malcolm P. McConnell III, both of Richmond, Va.


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