Medical Malpractice Case Report: $2,000,000 settlement for failure to diagnose and treat idiopathic cardiomyopathy (deterioration of the cardiac muscle of the heart wall) results in heart transplant

Firm partner John F. Eisberg secured a settlement of $2,000,000 in a failure to diagnose case involving the failure to treat idiopathic cardiomyopathy resulting in the need of a heart transplant. Read the following Minnesota Association for Justice (MAJ) Minnesota Case Report:

Selected Results*

(Excerpts taken with permission from Minnesota Trial Lawyer Association’s (MTLA) “Minnesota Case Reports”)  

In October 2001, 54-year-old M.E. had a routine physical that uncovered an abnormality on her EKG.  This prompted a referral to a cardiologist and an echocardiogram.  The results were abnormal revealing an ejection fraction of 40%.  (Normal is above 55%).  It was recommended by letter to her internist that she return for follow up and to begin treatment for cardiomyopathy.  This recommendation was not followed and was never communicated to M.E. by her internist. 

By July of 2004, M.E. was having trouble catching her breath.  Her internist treated her for allergies.  M.E.’s symptoms continually worsened.  The diagnosis changed to asthma.  M.E. was finally referred to an allergist in September of 2005.  No allergies were found, but she was sent on to a pulmonary specialist.  An echocardiogram revealed a very severe heart failure and an ejection fraction of no more than 15-20%.  M.E. needed a heart transplant. As a bridge, while awaiting a donor, a HeartMate II LVAD was placed in 12/05.  On 6/06 M.E. was transplanted with a new heart. 

Complications developed from post-transplant medications including insomnia, tremors, nausea, leg cramps, headaches, and vision problems.  Cardiac rehab progressed slowly.  M.E. will require lifelong anti-rejection medications, high level medical care including dozens of heart biopsies to monitor for rejection, and stringent health monitoring.  Life expectancy is 15 years with 70% survival three years post-transplant.

M.E. is a long time divorcee with two adult children and several grandchildren.  She worked full time until she was appropriately diagnosed in 10/05.  She has tried several times to return to full time work as an administrative assistant where she was earning over $40,000/year.  Medical specials exceeded $970,000, most of which was subject to a subrogation clause.  However, because the contract contained a “full compensation” agreement, the entire subrogation amount was waived by the carrier.  Out of pockets reached $30,000 and future wage loss was estimated at over $400,000.



$2,000,000 (policy limits)
Case Name: M.E. v. Internist
Date: May, 2007
Attorney: John F. Eisberg