Arrowood LLP Secures $2 Million Settlement in Wrongful Death Case


Arrowood LLP attorneys Lisa G. Arrowood, William F. McGonigle and Cathleen Liacos secured a $2 million settlement in a wrongful death case in which a cardiologist failed to inform his 25-year old patient of abnormal test results and subsequently failed to monitor and treat the young man’s potentially deadly heart condition, leading to the patient’s death at age 29.

In 2014, the decedent’s father was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a potentially fatal cardiac condition. The father was told by his cardiologist that his condition could be hereditary, and recommended that the man’s adult twin sons see him for testing to determine whether they also had cardiomyopathy. Shortly thereafter, the man relayed this message to his sons, who each contacted the cardiologist about getting tested for cardiomyopathy.

During the summer of 2014, one of the man’s sons underwent cardiac testing, and was eventually told by the cardiologist that his results were normal. A few months later, the man’s other son contacted the cardiologist about testing and an echocardiogram was ordered and scheduled for him by the cardiologist’s office. The patient, who was then 25 years old, underwent the echocardiogram in March 2015. The cardiologist was listed as the “Responsible M.D.” on the echocardiogram which revealed abnormal results indicative of cardiomyopathy.

Neither the cardiologist nor anyone at his office sent the abnormal echocardiogram results to the patient or explained the abnormal results to him. The cardiologist also did not recommend that the patient undergo any follow up testing, monitoring, or treatment given the abnormal echocardiogram. As a result of the cardiologist’s failure to send his patient the test results, explain those results, or recommend necessary treatment, the patient was unaware that he suffered from cardiomyopathy and was not followed or treated by any doctor for the condition.

In September 2018, when the patient was just 29 years old, he died as a result of his untreated cardiomyopathy. Approximately one month after his death, his twin brother went to see the cardiologist and reminded him that both he and his twin had undergone testing for cardiomyopathy in 2014 and 2015. The cardiologist checked the decedent’s echocardiogram results and confirmed that the decedent had cardiomyopathy during his lifetime. The surviving brother asked the cardiologist if he knew whether his deceased brother had ever received his test results, and the cardiologist searched his computer but could not find any such email, record of transmission, or other message enclosing the test results. The cardiologist said, “there is no record” and that the abnormal results “must have slipped through the cracks.”

“This case involved irrefutable evidence of a doctor’s negligent failure to send his young patient abnormal test results and the devastating result of that patient’s completely avoidable death at just 29 years old,” said attorney Cathleen Liacos.

The decedent’s estate brought a wrongful death claim against the cardiologist. Plaintiff’s cardiologist experts were prepared to testify that the defendant cardiologist was negligent in his treatment of the decedent by failing to communicate the abnormal echocardiogram results to the decedent, failing to explain the abnormal results to the decedent, and failing to either treat the decedent or recommend necessary treatment based on his abnormal test results.

Plaintiff’s cardiologist experts were also prepared to testify that, but for the defendant cardiologist’s negligent treatment of the decedent, the decedent would more probably than not have received treatment for his cardiomyopathy and would have been monitored by a cardiologist. Had the decedent received appropriate treatment and monitoring for his cardiac condition, it is more likely than not that he would not have died prematurely and would have survived to live up to and including his normal life expectancy.

Arrowood LLP secured the $2 million settlement on behalf of the man’s family at mediation one month prior to going to trial.

“This settlement represents the hard work that the family and Arrowood LLP put into this case,” said Ms. Liacos. “We’re proud to have achieved this result in honor of the decedent who, by all accounts, was an irreplaceable son, brother and friend.”