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St. Louis Couple Wins $6.4 Million on Medical Malpractice Decision

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By Richard Shapiro, Virginia Personal Injury Lawyer

A jury in Clayton, MO awarded a man and his wife $6.4 million in a medical malpractice lawsuit that stemmed from a stroke that he had in 2007.

The suit alleged that Jeffrey Schneider, 59, had an infection that resulted in a severe stroke that could have been both diagnosed and treated, if the physician on the case had not been negligent. The name of the doctor was Dr. Joseph Thompson of SSM DePaul Medical Group, in Clayton.

Media reports stated that Thompson diagnosed Schneider with a mitral valve prolapse in 1996. This is a condition where the valve in the heart does not close as tightly as it should. This can cause blood to flow backwards, back into the heart. A 2001 echocardiogram confirmed that Schneider had this condition.

The lawsuit alleged that Thompson did not request any subsequent echocardiograms after 2001. That condition and the diagnosis was not on Thompson’s radar, or in the medical files for Schneider after 2002. The patient also was never referred to a cardiologist.

Schneider got very ill in 2007 and complained to his doctor of fatigue, loss of appetite and pain in the abdomen. He said that he felt as if he were going to die. Thompson did refer Schneider to other doctors for some tests, but he never gave him a referral to a cardiologist, nor did he order more tests on his heart.

Later in 2007, Schneider’s wife Connie called the doctor and asked that he be admitted to the hospital, but Thompson told her to wait until tests came back from a hematologist. Schneider then had an acute stroke in June 2007 due to a bacterial infection on a heart valve. He now has limited use of the right side of his body, short term memory damage and difficulty speaking. He also has not been able to work since the stroke.

The $6.4 million verdict was one of the biggest medical malpractice awards in the state of Missouri.

About 90% of medical malpractice trials involve a plaintiff with serious permanent injury or death, and this case is yet another unfortunate example of that.

Shapiro, Lewis, Appleton & Favaloro, P.C. is a Virginia law firm that often blogs about medical malpractice and wrongful death lawsuits.