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Ignoring your heart scan is medical negligence

Posted Sep 12 2008 8:52am 1 Comment

I continue to be dumbfounded that many doctors continue to pooh-pooh or ignore CT heart scans when people get them.

I can't count the number of people I've seen or talked to through the Track Your Plaque program who've been told to ignore their heart scan scores. The most extreme example was a man whose physician told him his heart scan score of nearly 4000 was nothing to worry about!


A real-life story of a retired public defense attorney whose heart scan score of 1200 was ignored, followed two years later by sudden unstable heart symptoms and urgent bypass prompted us to write this fictitious lawsuit. Though it's not real, it could easily become real. To our knowledge, no single act of ignorance about heart scans has yet prompted such a lawsuit, but it's bound to happen given the number of scans being performed every year and the continued stubbornness of many physicians to acknowledge their importance.



Major Malpractice Class Action Lawsuit Looms for Doctors Who Ignore Heart Scan Tests

It's been several years since new medical discoveries have debunked old theories regarding heart disease and heart attack and have verified the efficacy of CT heart scans for detecting both early and advanced heart disease. Doctors who fail to keep apprised of these finding or refuse to change their practice for financial reasons put themselves at risk for becoming defendants in a major malpractice class action lawsuit. The plaintiffs will be a growing class of persons who were debilitated by avoidable heart attacks and heart procedures and the heirs and estates of those who have died.
Milwaukee , WI (PRWEB) November 29, 2005 -- This press release outlines a template for a potential class action lawsuit that may be on the horizon for the medical industry. The class of plaintiffs for this theoretical action remains latent but is growing on a daily basis. However, it requires only one such plaintiff to find an attorney who recognizes the scale and magnitude of the potential damages and move forward on a contingency basis. In real terms, this class could include 80% of those who had a heart attack, underwent a heart procedure, or subsequently died. According to the latest American Heart Association statistics, this number is estimated to be a least 865,000 persons and the entire class could easily be 10 times that number. Using a conservative estimate of $500,000 in damages per class member, the total damages could exceed $400 billion.

The plaintiffs, defendants, third parties, and facts surrounding the following moot complaint represent an actual incident. The names, specific health information, and dates have been changed to protect potential litigants.

Plaintiff, through his attorneys, brings this action on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, and on personal knowledge as to himself and his activities, and on information and belief as to all other matters, based on investigation conducted by counsel, hereby alleges as follows:

NATURE OF THE ACTION

1.Plaintiff brings this class action on behalf of himself and all other persons who suffered physical damages or mental distress as a result of receiving a medical diagnosis indicating they had no identifiable heart disease, elevated risk for heat attack, or who were prescribed medications not suited to treat their heart disease once detected.

2.Substantial and irrefutable medical evidence has established that cardiac stress testing is an ineffective method for detecting heart disease of the type that is the root cause in over 90% of all heart attacks and other complications of heart disease that result in death or debilitating injury. A readily available and well-publicized test known as “CT heart scanning” is capable of detecting virtually all heart disease of this nature. It has also been established that simple cholesterol testing often fails to detect persons like likely to develop serious heart disease and prevents them from receiving common treatments capable of reducing or eliminating the source of their undetected heart disease. Readily available blood testing techniques exist that are capable of detecting non-cholesterol related sources of heart disease.

3.The medical community has made significant investments in outdated methods of detecting and treating heart disease. They rely on the revenue streams generated by providing these treatments to persons whose heart disease has progressed to the stage that intervention is required to prevent death or debilitation. Any change in diagnostic or treatment methods resulting in the prevention of heart disease would require substantial investments in new technologies and would severely reduce the market for current treatments. Plaintiffs believe this is a motivating factor in the neglect and willful suppression of readily available technology capable of detecting and preventing heart disease and represents gross medical malpractice.

SUBSTANTIVE ALLEGATIONS

On January 23, 1999, Plaintiff underwent a CT Heart Scan which was interpreted by a cardiologist at the ABC Scan Center . Plaintiff received a report from the Scan Center cardiologist indicating that his “calcium score” placed him in the top 1% for heart attack risk among men in his age group. The report also included the comment “Patient has a high risk of having at least one major stenosis (50% or greater blockage) in his Left Anterior Descending (LAD) artery and is urged to consult with a physician regarding this finding.”

On March 3, 1999 Plaintiff presented Defendant with the results of the January 23, 1999 CT Heart Scan. Defendant told Plaintiff to disregard the CT Heart Scan Results and ordered a physical including a stress test and cholesterol blood test.

On April 1, 2005, Plaintiff had a heart attack and a subsequent coronary angiography that confirmed multiple obstructive coronary plaques in his LAD. Plaintiff received an emergency balloon angioplasty to relieve his acute condition. Substantial damage to plaintiff's heart was incurred before emergency angioplasty could be instituted.

On April 3, 2005, per Defendant's recommendation, Plaintiff underwent open heart surgery to insert three bypasses in his LAD to resolve substantial obstructive heart disease, the same artery identified as having likely obstructive heart disease over 5 years earlier via CT heart scan.

On July 7, 2005, Plaintiff independently obtained additional blood testing not ordered by Plaintiff and was found to have several additional blood abnormalities not discovered by Defendant that are known to contribute to the development of heart disease and were readily treatable using lifestyle changes, nutritional supplements, and prescription drugs.

As early as September, 1996, the American Heart Association (AHA) issued a “Scientific Statement” to health professionals acknowledging the strong link between heart attacks and high calcium scores in asymptomatic patients. Extensive studies and references have confirmed the ineffectiveness of stress testing to reveal early heart disease in asymptomatic patients.

Plaintiff alleges that Defendant failed to utilize readily available medical tests and protocols to identify, aggressively treat, and potentially delay, halt, or reverse advanced heart disease that later resulted in extensive physical and emotional trauma to the Defendant.

PRAYER FOR RELIEF

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff herein demands judgment:

A. Declaring this action to be a proper class action maintainable pursuant to Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and declaring Plaintiff to be a proper Class representative;

B. Awarding damages against each defendant, joint and severally, and in favor of Plaintiff and all other members of the Class, in an amount determined to have been sustained by them, awarding money damages as appropriate, plus pre-judgment interest;

C. Awarding Plaintiff and the Class the costs and other disbursements of this suit, including without limitation, reasonable fees for attorneys, accountants, experts; and

JURY DEMAND

Plaintiff hereby demands a trial by jury.

Comments (1)
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What is heart scan score? What's the relation with the heart disease risks? What product do you use to measure that, FDA approved? Have you heard of Heart Rhythm Scanner that can actually assess the risk of heart attack on a particular patient in ~5 minutes? Non professionals use Stress Monitor that have proven to alarm the risk of a heart attack in a few days before it can happen.
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