A jury awarded a Maryland Heights man and his wife $6.4 million in a medical malpractice lawsuit against the man’s physician after he suffered a stroke in 2007. The plaintiffs alleged the stroke could have been prevented if the physician had properly diagnosed and treated a bacterial infection on the man’s heart valve.
The physician had diagnosed the plaintiff with mitral valve prolapse (a condition in which a heart valve does not close tightly, resulting in a blow flow backward into the heart) in 1996. The condition continued to show up on tests until 2001.
The plaintiffs alleged the physician did not order any follow-up echocardiograms (tests which would properly show the condition) after 2001 and the condition was not brought up again by the physician as if it no longer existed.
In mid-2007, the plaintiff became very ill with fatigue, loss of appetite, and abdominal pain, which he brought to his physician’s attention. The physician referred the plaintiff to multiple doctors but did not refer him to a cardiologist or order any tests that would examine his heart.
One month later, the plaintiff’s wife requested the physician admit her husband to a hospital because of his deteriorating conditions. The physician allegedly responded to the wife’s request by telling her to wait for the test result from a hematologist.
The plaintiff suffered an acute stroke two months after the initial complaint which resulted from the infection on his heart valve. The stroke left the defendant with restricted mobility on the right side of his body, damage to his short term memory, and difficulty processing words. These disabilities have resulted in the plaintiff being unable to work.
The attorneys for the physician and medical practice argued a lack of evidence that could prove negligence or negligence that caused the plaintiff’s injuries.
The jury found in favor of the plaintiffs with a $6.4 million verdict; a verdict that is noted as one of the largest medical malpractice awards in the state of Missouri.