Pintas & Mullins Secures $4 Million Settlement for Hospital Patient Death

Our medical malpractice attorneys are proud to announce the settlement of a wrongful death lawsuit against MetroSouth Medical Center in Blue Island, Illinois.

Our client, 44-year-old Keesha Caldwell, went to the emergency room on February 28, 2010 complaining of chest pain. Doctors suspected the issue was heart-related due to her low blood pressure. Caldwell was admitted to stay at MetroSouth overnight in the intensive care unit. CT scans showed a collected of fluid in the tissue surrounding her heart, which can cause a condition called cardiac tamponade.

Normal heart tissue does have some fluid in it; cardiac tamponade occurs when there is excessive fluid, building pressure on the heart. This fluid buildup prevents the heart from filling up with and pumping blood properly. It is short-term and treatable, but immediate tests and diagnoses are required. The only way to diagnose a cardiac tamponade is using a test called an echocardiogram.

Caldwell presented all signs and symptoms of a cardiac tamponade: shortness of breath, low blood pressure, chest pain and lightheadedness. Despite this, she remained in the intensive care unit overnight, with the echocardiogram scheduled for the next morning. Caldwell'€™s health declined rapidly throughout the night and into the early morning, until about 5:50 a.m., when an emergency echocardiogram was ordered.

Due to numerous communication errors among MetroSouth's staff, Caldwell did not receive the test. Around 7:30 a.m., doctors discovered she had fallen into cardiac arrest. All efforts to revive her were unsuccessful. Testing showed an accumulation of fluid around her heart as the cause of her death.

Medical experts determined that if she had received the proper diagnosis, tests and treatments before she fell into cardiac arrest, she would have survived. The delay in diagnosis caused her wrongful death at the age of 44. Her surviving family, including two daughters, filed a lawsuit on her behalf, naming several different doctors and health facilities as defendants.

The lawsuit claimed the defendants were negligent in treating Caldwell when they failed to develop a diagnosis from her low blood pressure; failed to administer emergency tests; and failed to recognize the symptoms of cardiac tamponade.

After a long period of depositions, a failed mediation, and investigations, the case ultimately settled on the eve of trial, in the amount of $4.29 million.

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