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Medical malpractice suit filed after teen athlete dies

Just over four years ago, a Northampton County teen athlete began complaining of shortness of breath and weakness during basketball practice. The 15-year-old was taken to an emergency room at a local hospital in Easton, where he was treated for what his physician believed was an asthma attack. He was released, but he went into cardiac arrest and died the next day. When Pennsylvania residents suffer harm due to a medical professionals’ negligence, they or their loved ones are typically entitled to file a medical malpractice suit against the responsible party or parties.

The teen’s family recently filed such a suit against the physician, in addition to the hospital where he was treated, claiming that the doctor failed their son. The suit claims that if he had performed his job correctly, the doctor would have realized that the teen was suffering a heart condition that had previously gone undetected. The hospital argues that its employee acted properly when he diagnosed asthma — which the teen, in fact, suffered from — as the main cause of the problem.

The teen had begun feeling unwell on the evening of Aug. 2, 2011 while he was at basketball practice. When he was taken to the hospital, he received oxygen in addition to medication for asthma, and he was released in a wheelchair due to his continued weakness. The Pennsylvania teen then died the next day while at home. His autopsy showed that he died of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which occurs when the heart’s walls begin to thicken — a common cause of cardiac arrest in young athletes.

When patients in Pennsylvania die from the result of a healthcare professional’s negligence, their loved ones typically choose to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the responsible party or parties. Successfully navigated, this type of suit may sometimes result in a monetary judgment for damages incurred, which are often used to offset the associated costs typical of this kind of death. Medical malpractice victims’ loved ones often begin this process by consulting an experienced personal injury attorney in order to assess the validity of their claim as well as for ongoing legal support.

Source: mcall.com, “Easton Hospital in malpractice trial in death of athlete, 15”, Riley Yates, Jan. 27, 2016

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