Failure to Diagnose Aortic Aneurysm Can Have Deadly Consequences | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

Imagine this scenario – you take your  family member or spouse to the hospital since they’re complaining of chest pain, chest tightness, nausea and/or shortness of breath. Your loved one gets an EKG and an emergency room physician evaluates determines that everything is normal and all lab work is essentially within normal limits. Even with this information, your loved one still suffers from severe pain and your chest, back and shoulders feel tight. They are discharged and told to return if the pain persists. The next day, you find your loved one unresponsive. You rush them to the hospital, but your loved one is pronounced dead on arrival.

Unfortunately, this is an all-too real scenario that many people suffer with. Roughly 1 in 25 people over the age of 65 suffer an abdominal aortic aneurysm,according to NHS. Furthermore, abdominal aortic aneurysms are one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Statistics indicate that roughly 15,000 lives are lost due to  an abdominal aortic aneurysm, according to

The scenario I laid out above actually happened to a victim in 2006. The autopsy revealed the cause of death was a cardiac tamponade from a ruptured dissecting ascending aortic aneurysm. An aortic aneurysm is ballooning of the aorta, the large artery that carries blood from the heart through the chest and abdomen, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Thousands of people visit the hospital complaining of chest pain and chest tightness and are misdiagnosed, or even worse, not diagnosed at all with an aortic aneurysm. This failure to properly diagnose this condition, as illustrated above, can have deadly consequences. Many family members struggle with the notion that, if only a proper diagnose was done, may, just maybe, their loved one would still be alive. It’s a thought that haunts many people for the rest of their lives.

The Virginia Medical Malpractice Lawyers’ Perspective

If your loved one lost their life as a result of an aortic aneurysm and you have the slightest suspicion that the diagnosis was late, consider speaking with the Virginia medical malpractice attorney to discuss your legal options. As mentioned, failure to diagnose this condition, or misdiagnosing the condition, can be grounds for a medical negligence claim.

Potentially Helpful Legal Articles and/or In-Depth Legal Guides

To learn more about the legal rights you may have when pursuing a medical malpractice wrongful death claim, take a look at our in-depth legal guide discussing common forms of medical negligence.

For more information about aortic aneurisms, take a look at this study done by the American Heart Association.

Have Questions? Check Out Our FAQsIf you have questions regarding the medical malpractice claims process, take a look at our library of FAQs, all answered by our team of Virginia medical malpractice lawyers.  Below is a video describing how an aortic aneurysm can occur:


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