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Family wins heart condition medical malpractice case

When a doctor negligently fails to properly diagnose an individual's symptoms, it can have serious or even fatal consequences for a patient. It can also have a major impact on the family of the patient. One of the roles of medical malpractice claims is to provide negligence victims and their families with relief to help mitigate these negative impacts. This can be seen in a recent case from Montana.

The case involved a 42-year-old man who received care from a clinic in Billings, Montana. The man had gone to the clinic because of chest pains and he was seen by an internal medicine physician.

The man's family claimed that the physician misdiagnosed these chest pains as being caused by a torn muscle, rather than by a known heart valve condition that the man suffered from. Also, the doctor was accused of failing to properly monitor the patient's condition and failing to refer the man to a specialist.

The man died a year later, on October 5, 2005. The man's family claimed that he died because he had not received a replacement valve to combat his condition. They claimed that it was the internal medicine physician's above-mentioned misdiagnosis and negligence which caused this to happen.

The man left behind a wife and four kids. The family sued the physician and the clinic for negligence in connection to the man's death. Last Friday, the trial connected to this lawsuit ended with a jury verdict in favor of the deceased man's family. As part of this verdict, the defendants were told to pay a large sum of money to the family as compensation for lost wages and other expenses.

This case demonstrates how harmful medical negligence can be to a family. In this case, the alleged negligence resulted in a wife losing her husband and four kids losing their father. One hopes that the family's successful medical malpractice claim will help them deal with the major financial burdens that can come with this kind of loss.

Source: Billings Gazette, "$1.7 million verdict returned against Billings Clinic, physician in medical negligence case," Cindy Uken, 21 Feb 2011

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