Man With Classic Heart Attack Symptoms Sent Home, He Says
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (CN) – A Kaiser doctor ignored a man’s sharp, radiating chest pain and he had a heart attack days later, the man claims in Kern County Superior Court.
James Harvey and his wife Emily sued Kaiser Permanente, San Joquin Memorial Hospital, and Ronald Peterson D.O. Friday.
Harvey says he started feeling short bursts of “excruciating, sharp pain on the left side of his chest … radiating to his sternum, neck and even to his face” and shortness of breath in late April 2015.
The pain soon got so bad that he went to the emergency room at San Joaquin Memorial, where Peterson, an emergency room doctor, ordered preliminary tests including an electrocardiogram (EKG), blood tests, and x-rays of his chest, according to the complaint.
Though his symptoms were all classic signs of a heart attack in men, Peterson declined to perform an angiography, a test to see the inside of the blood vessels in the heart, the complaint states.
Based only on the preliminary tests, Harvey says, Peterson diagnosed him with high blood pressure and noncardiac chest pain and sent him home.
The next day, his pain became so excruciating and persistent that he “collapsed in the bedroom of his home” and was rushed to a different hospital by ambulance, according to the complaint.
“This time, (a) serious cardiac condition was found,” James says, and the doctors diagnosed him with a heart attack caused by a complete blockage of his right coronary artery.
As a doctor, Peterson should have recognized the classic symptoms of a heart attack and should never have sent James Harvey home without medical care, according to the complaint.
Nevertheless, they did exactly what they shouldn’t have done, and he almost died as a result and had to undergo “months of intensive recovery program before he could live a somewhat normal life again,” the complaint states.
Had Peterson been more careful in his diagnosis, none of this would have happened, according to the complaint.
Emily Harvey says she had to take over tasks usually performed by her husband and incurred expenses and labor caring for him and taking him to his appointments for recovery care, which would have been unnecessary if Peterson and the hospital had done their jobs.
The Harveys seek general, specific, and both non-economic and economic damages for medical malpractice and loss of consortium, as well as attorney’s fees and court costs.
They are represented by John Fu of Burbank.