A gentleman complained to his internist that he had severe shoulder and chest pain. His primary care doctor examined him and finally, at the patients urging, performed an EKG, also known as electrocardiogram.
The doctor interpreted his EKG as 'normal' even though the computer generated results from the EKG clearly noted this was an abnormal test.
The internist prescribed him some medication for what he believed was nothing more than a bout of shingles, and sent the patient home.
The next morning the patient continued to experience severe and unremitting shoulder and radiating chest pain. However, since his internist told the patient that everything was fine and it was simply muscle strain and shingles, he need not worry about it.
Later that day the patient went to another physician for evaluation and after placing the patient on an EKG monitor it became clear that he was having a heart attack at that time. The patient was rushed to a local hospital where it was confirmed that he had a significant heart attack.
Importantly, the cardiac enzyme levels revealed that this patient had experienced this heart attack on the morning after he had last seen his primary care doctor.
Here's how they were able to tell that...
Cardiac enzymes peak approximately 18-24 hours after a patient has suffered heart damage from a heart attack. Working backwards from the peak levels, our expert cardiologist was able to determine when this patient experienced his heart attack, also known medically as a myocardial infarction.
Had the patient's primary care doctor recognized the cardiac abnormality when he saw him, this patient would have been sent to the hospital immediately and he would've undergone cardiac catheterization with a stent to open up the closed coronary artery and would have received clotbusting medications that would have prevented this heart attack from occurring.
We were able to successfully settle this case during a final pretrial conference with the court, with defense counsel and with the insurance company representative.