Doctors Thought Heart Problem Was Bronchitis, Suit Charges
1-26-2019 00:07:00

TOWSON, Md. (CN) – A man was sent home from the emergency department without proper diagnosis or treatment for his heart problems, and had a stroke two days later due to the lack of timely care, according to his Baltimore County Circuit Court suit.

Andria West, individually and as power of attorney for Preston West, sued Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States, Inc. doing business as South Baltimore County Medical Center doing business as Kaiser CDU, Max T. Dutkin, M.D., and Minesh R. Patel, M.D. for medical negligence, lack of informed consent and loss of consortium.

Preston West, 72, has a history of ventricular tachycardia (abnormal heart rhythm), atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and prior myocardial infarction (heart attack). He is “severely obese,” has a history of being a smoker, and a family history of heart disease, according to the action. 

Nevertheless, when he went to defendants’ emergency department with very high blood pressure readings, an elevated heart rate, shortness of breath and chest pains, defendant doctors Dutkin and Patel “negligently believed that the patient’s presentation was secondary to bronchitis,” the suit states, “despite the fact that he did not have a cough or other classic signs and symptoms of bronchitis.”

West was treated with a nebulizer, which made his symptoms worse. West was then discharged, the suit states.

The following day, West went to the emergency department of non-party Saint Agnes hospital with continuing complaints of shortness of breath and worsening chest pains. He was admitted, treated with nitroglycerin and aspirin, and a cardiac catheterization procedure was attempted. 

Due to West’s extremely high blood pressure, the procedure was pushed off until the following day so he could be stabilized. When the procedure was done, he also had a stent placed due to “near total occlusion (90 percent stenosis) of his right coronary artery,” according to the action.

However, right after the surgery, West had a stroke, which kept him in the Intensive Care Unit for over a month, where he developed pneumonia, a urinary tract infection and underwent a tracheostomy (an incision into the windpipe to relieve obstructed breathing). He was discharged to a long-term care facility, and has, and will continue to have, “debilitating deficits,” the suit states.

“Mr. West was allowed to linger with an uncontrolled hypertensive crisis without proper monitoring and medical intervention, which caused him to decompensate and suffer a stroke and other related complications,” the action alleges.

Preston West and his wife Andria seek compensatory damages in addition to interest and legal costs. They are represented by H. Briggs Bedigian and Michael V. McCubbin of Gilman & Bedigian, LLC, in Timonium, Maryland.