A woman has been awarded $4 million by an Alabama jury in compensation for a heart attack misdiagnosis which led to the death of her husband.
Terry Hallmark (40) from Carbon Hill in Walker County started to complain of chest pains and feeling sick on the morning of January 11, 2008. Two days later he attended the Walker Baptist Medical Center, demonstrating the signs and symptoms of a heart condition, but he was sent home after being examined by Dr Charles E Shipman and diagnosed with a stomach bug.
Terry continued to feel unwell, and on January 15 he collapsed clutching his chest and told his wife – Donna – to call 911. Terry was taken by ambulance to hospital, but could not be revived and died the same day.
After seeking legal advice from a medical negligence attorney, Donna claimed compensation for the heart attack misdiagnosis – alleging that the standard of care delivered by Dr Shipman was inadequate and that the Emergency Room doctor should have considered a cardiac problem and ordered a blood test to rule out cardiac damage or an ischemia.
Dr Shipman contested that he was at fault for Terry´s death, and the claim for compensation for a heart attack misdiagnosis was heard by a jury at the Walker County Circuit Court in Alabama before Judge Hoyt M. Elliot.
After a seven-day trial, the jury delivered a verdict in favor of Donna, and awarded her $4 million in medical negligence compensation for the heart attack misdiagnosis – believed to be the most substantial settlement of a medical negligence case in Walker County.
Speaking after the verdict had been announced Donna´s medical negligence attorney said that the size of the compensation settlement sends a message to ER doctors about what they must do before sending a sick patient home. Dr Shipman´s attorney declined to comment until a decision is made on whether or not the doctor will appeal the verdict.