A Utah man went to a medical clinic in November 2011 complaining of chest pain that radiated to his abdomen. He was initially diagnosed as having constipation.
A 55-year-old driver for the Utah Transit Authority experienced pain in his chest and abdomen that prompted him to go to a local medical clinic. The man was seen by a physician’s assistant (PA). The PA diagnosed him as having constipation. No tests, such as an EKG or chest radiographs, were ordered and he was not sent to the E.R.
The man’s pain continued for more than a week and he went back to the medical clinic and was seen by a different PA. He was once again diagnosed with stomach pain and constipation. No further tests were ordered. Four days later, the patient died of aortic dissection. His wife filed a medical malpractice lawsuit. The jury delivered a verdict of $2.9 million with a finding that the medical clinic was 70 percent at fault and had breached the standard of care and that the patient was 30 percent at fault for not going to the E.R. on his own.
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