Aortic Dissection Malpractice Lawsuit Filed Over Failure to Diagnose

The family of a man who died from an aortic dissection has filed a medical malpractice against a New York hospital, alleging that doctors failed to properly diagnose the condition.

The complaint was filed last week by the family of George Edward Johnson, against Olean General Hospital and several doctors for failing to detect the condition when he presented to the emergency room.

Johnson was admitted by ambulance to Olean General Hospital in Olean, New York, on August 4, 2014. He complained of chest pain, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and dyspnea, which his family says are all classic signs of aortic dissection. However, the lawsuit indicates that the doctors failed to perform a CT scan, violating standards of care and misdiagnosed the aortic dissection.

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“Defendant, Christopher T. Mallavarapu, M.D. was called by the emergency department staff and saw George Edward Johnson for urgent cardiac catheterization, which was performed that morning,” the lawsuit states. “Defendant, Christopher T. Mallavarapu, M.D. stated in the cardiac catheterization report that it was negative for coronary artery disease, but erroneously reported that it was negative for dissection, when in fact the dissection was patently obvious on the catheterization images.”

The lawsuit notes that even after one of the defendant, Dr. Harpreet Singh, indicated that he suspected Johnson was suffering from a pulmonary embolism, no CT scan was performed.

Johnson was discharged with a prescription for the anticoagulant Xarelto, even though he still complained of chest pains. Four days later, he collapsed in his home and died.

Aortic dissections are a life-threatening condition, involving degradation within the layers of the aorta that can result in a rupture. The condition poses a serious health risk and usually requires invasive surgery to treat.

When detected and treated early, the risk of surviving an aortic dissection is greatly increased. Symptoms can be similar to a heart attack and can include sudden chest pain, shortness of breath, loss of consciousness, problems speaking, vision loss, paralysis on one side of the body or weak pulse on one side of the body.

The wrongful death lawsuit seeks $20 million in compensatory damages and $10 million in punitive damages.


  • KristiNovember 18, 2019 at 10:25 am

    I feel very bad for this family! Your in my prayers.

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