$2.5 Million Verdict: Medical Malpractice – Heart Attack
Thompson v. Dr. Anthony Mattaline
Spencer Farris was one of a three lawyer team that earned a $2.5 million verdict in a medical malpractice case in St. Louis for a man who suffered a heart attack after being sent home by his doctor.
Plaintiff Frank Thompson had ongoing epigastric pain for four months and went to Defendant Dr. Anthony Mattaline with his complaints. Mattaline’s office recorded pain above the navel, and sent Thompson home with a hernia diagnosis.
While at a wedding the next day, Thompson had massive chest and epigastric pain and headed to the hospital. On the way, he went into cardiac arrest and suffered massive heart and brain damage.
Epigastric pain is in the upper middle part of the abdomen at the bottom of the sternum (breast bone). There are many possible diagnoses for such pain, but a cardiac ailment is the most dangerous and life threatening. According to Thompson’s expert, a possible cardiac ailment should be addressed first because of the risk presented.
Because of the heart damage, Thompson is unable to endure prolonged physical exertion and can walk for about 20 minutes before he is exhausted. He also has difficulty speaking because of his limited heart function and brain injury.
Thompson has no short term memory and doesn’t remember any of the weeks preceding or following the heart attack, including the visit with Mattaline. His brain injury forced him to end his job as a manager of fiscal services for St. Louis County Health department.
Thompson alleged Mattaline failed to appreciate and evaluate his heart condition, or refer him for an evaluation. Thompson also asserted Mattaline failed to properly record the complaints and symptoms.
Mattaline argued that based on Thompson’s navel pain there was no need to do any cardiac evaluation. However, Mattaline and the experts in the case agreed that if Thompson had epigastric pain, a cardiac evaluation was required.
After a five-day trial, the jury returned a $2.5 million verdict in favor of Thompson.
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*The results obtained in each case depend on a variety of factors that are unique to each case. Every case is different and these results, while accurate, do not guarantee a similar result in your case and cannot be used to predict the results of your case.