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Is This Malpractice.......

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State: California
Father diagnosed with congestive heart failure in Nov 2000. Put on heart meds. Lost his taste for food & stopped eating. Referred to cardiologist who asked "What are you doing here?" meaning he found nothing else wrong with his heart. Continued to not eat for 3 months, other than 3 cans of Ensure a day - loses 45 pounds.

Meanwhile, back pain that started Dec 2000 precludes him from sleeping in bed - sleeps in recliner all day. Mother calls home while at work to check on father. One day, he doesn't answer - she rushes home to find him dilerious - calls 911.

At hospital, resident cardiologist wonders why he wasn't hospitalized by the 1st dr - as he has EXTENSIVE problems, including a rare disease called endocarditis. Ends up having a 5-way bypass even though he is so weak he can hardly breathe - he will die if he doesn't have the surgery. He's been suffering like this for 2 1/2 months!!!!

Endocarditis is often caused by dental procedure that releases bacteria into blood stream - dangerous if heart is already damaged. Father had scarlet fever as a child - his dentist always prescribed antibiotics prior to procedures - EXCEPT when he pulled a tooth 2 weeks before the first signs of heart problems. Dentist refused to show my mother his records (but she knows for a fact father has always been prescribed antibiotics, even if he's just getting his teeth cleaned).

So - is the dentist liable because he didn't prescribe antibiotics, which resulted in a rare heart disease which compounded the problems my father already had with his heart (leaky mitral valve and lots of clogged arteries)?

Is the first cardiologist liable because he did not diagnose SEVERE heart problems (which were obvious to the 2nd cardiologist) - resulting in my father not getting timely treatment until he nearly died?

Father had surgery March 23rd - he is STILL on a respirator - can't eat (on a feeding tube), breathe on his own or talk. He may never be normal again. He looks like a holocaust vicitim, he is so frail (before this started he was a vibrant, 6'1" 210 lb happy guy).

Thank you for your help!

Addendum: My father died of the endocarditis on May 6th. Could have been prevented with a simple dose of antibiotics

[Edited by tallbarb on 06-07-2001 at 06:13 PM]

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