Lawsuit Over Failure to Prevent Fatal Heart Attack Results in $3.74M Award

A medical malpractice lawsuit filed over a fatal heart attack suffered by a Massachusetts, which was allegedly caused by his doctor’s failure to diagnose and properly treat reports of chest pains, has resulted in a $3.74 million jury award. 

The complaint was brought by the family of Robby Lee Ward, who died in 2006 after suffering a heart attack. The defendant in the case was Dr. Peter J. Demartino, Ward’s primary care physician at Acton Medical Associates.

According to allegations raised by the family, the 59 year-old Ward complained of chest pains and was taken by ambulance to Mount Auburn Hospital, where staff failed to diagnose him as suffering a heart attack and released him in February 2006. Afterward, Ward went to see Dr. Demartino, who took him off an aspirin regimen.

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Aspirin is regularly prescribed to patients at risk of suffering a heart attack, because of its use as a blood thinner. Not only did Dr. Demartino tell Ward to stop taking aspirin, despite its prophylactic benefits, but he also did not recommend that he see a cardiologist, despite signs that he was suffering some sort of heart problem.

Ward died in June 2006, and an autopsy revealed he had coronary heart disease and had previously suffered heart damage.

Late last month, a jury in Middlesex County Superior Court in Massachusetts determined that Dr. Demartino was negligent in the medical care provided to Ward. Another employee of Acton Medical Associates was cleared by the same jury.

The jury awarded $3.74 million in damages. However, because the case was filed in 2007, the Boston Business Journal reports that final payment to th family could be as much as $5.8 million.

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