News Brief

Terranova and Beall Obtain Defense Verdict – Breach of Standard of Care Not Cause of Death

May 17, 2023

Jodi V. Terranova (Partner-Washington, DC) and Patricia H. Beall (Of Counsel-Washington, DC) secured a unanimous jury verdict in DC Superior Court in favor of our client physician, health plan and medical group after nine hours of deliberation after a five-day trial. The decedent presented with a history of a four-week cough with a medical history of coronary artery disease, including two prior heart attacks and congestive heart failure. Our physician ruled out worsening congestive heart failure, as there were no complaints of chest pain, shortness of breath, lower extremity swelling, and a normal cardiac and respiratory exam. The decedent reported a history of allergies, and exhibited symptoms that supported the diagnosis of allergic rhinitis. Plaintiffs alleged that the physician had a duty to order diagnostic tests and send the decedent to the hospital, where they would have treated the fluid overload and placed a stent to open the left coronary artery. Jodi and Patricia asserted that these were two distinct events, and there was an acute coronary event stemming from a thrombus in the right coronary artery found at autopsy. The jury found the doctor to have breached the standard of care, but that his breach was not a cause of the death.

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