Our clients are the family members of a 15 year old girl who died from a pulmonary embolism. The young girl injured her ankle at school and went to her medical clinic, Alta Med, complaining of trouble breathing, heart palpitations and leg pain. Although these symptoms were classic symptoms of a deep vein thrombosis (DVT), the physician at Alta Med attributed her difficulty breathing to asthma. Because Alta Med receives funding from the United States, we were forced to file suit against the United States Government to obtain compensation for our clients. We recently obtained a significant settlement for our clients.
A DVT is a blood clot that forms in a vein deep in the body. Blood clots occur when blood thickens and clumps together. Often, these clots form in the lower leg. A clot in a deep vein can break off and travel through the blood to an artery in the lungs and create a blockage. That condition is called a pulmonary embolism.
Our clients’ daughter returned on a number of occasions to Alta Med with trouble breathing and her asthma medication was not working. Yet, the physician never ordered any tests or referred her to any specialists. We believe the evidence that we uncovered proved that the physician at Alta Med committed medical malpractice. We retained a highly qualified pulmonary specialist and an emergency medicine expert who explained what should have been done to care for the young girl and that those efforts would have cured her.
The challenge we faced in this action was that our clients had a single wrongful death case and that case was governed by the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA). Under MICRA, the recovery was capped at $250,000 for our clients’ loss of their daughter and sister. However, we were able to reach a settlement well in excess of the MICRA cap. Our clients suffered from emotional distress by witnessing the complete absence of care provided by the physician. By including the emotional distress as an item of damage for each of our clients, we were able to obtain a recovery that exceeded the statutory cap on damages.
We wish our clients the best of luck in the future and hope that this settlement brings them some solace, knowing that through our efforts we developed the evidence necessary to prove our case of malpractice.