Botched Catheterization Procedure Leads to $1.5 Million Verdict

Last week, an Allegany County jury returned a $1.5 million verdict against a local cardiologist after the death of Robert Kaiser, a carpenter, following a routine catheterization procedure.  On June 17, 2005, Mr. Kaiser had been admitted to the hospital following a minor heart attack.  Three days later, the cardiologist, Dr. Kulkarni, performed a catheterization procedure.  A catheterization is a medical procedure used to diagnosed and treat certain heart conditions.  During the procedure, a flexible tube called a catheter is inserted in to the patient's arm, groin or neck and passed through the blood vessels all the way to the heart.  Through the catheter the doctor can then run several diagnostic tests such as coronary angiogram in which dye is inserted into your bloodstream and travels to the heart to see if the dye gets blocked anywhere.   In this case, following the procedure, Mr. Kaiser's wife was told that her husband's heart was strong and that he had done well in surgery.  Moments later, Mr. Kaiser's blood pressure dropped precipitiously and life-saving measures were ordered.  Ultimately, Mr. Kaiser died and the Plaintiff alleged that Dr. Kulkarni had negligently punctured a vessel while performing the catheterization, causing Mr. Kaiser to suffer significant internal bleeding that went unnoticed until it was too late.  Jurors in the case deliberated for 3 1/2 hours before returning the verdict, an award that included damages for Mr. Kaiser's pain and suffering, his medical bills/funeral expenses and the loss of services to his wife. 

As with most procedures done on your heart and blood vessels, cardiac catheterization carries with it some serious risks.  Major complications, such as death, although rare, can occur.  The well known risks associated with cardiac catheterization include:  bleeding, bruising, heart attacks, stroke, damage to the artery where catheter was inserted, development of a pseudoaneurysm, irregular heart beat, allergic reactions to dye or medications, kidney damage, infection or blood clots and tearing of the tissue of your heart or artery.  Also, women who are pregnant should inform their doctors prior to undergoing any catheterization.  Typically, specific risks for these procedures are died to the patient's demographics, cardiovascular anatomy, other comorbidities, the experience of the physician and the type of procedure being performed. 

Sadly, as this case reflects, even the most routine of procedures can lead to tragic results. If you or a loved one have experienced an adverse reaction following a routine cardiac procedure, or any other procedure, contact the lawyers at STSW for a free consultation at 410-385-2225 or visit our website to set up your free consultation.  Our lawyers frequently handle these types of lawsuits against Baltimore and Washington D.C. area hospitals and cardiology professionals, including those at Johns Hopkins, University of Maryland Medical System, Union Memorial Hospital, Sibley Memorial Hospital, Frederick Memorial Hospital, Anne Arundel Medical Center, Howard County General Hospital, Upper Chesapeake Medical Center, Sinai Hospital, St. Agnes Hospital, Harbor Hospital and other local hospitals.  In addition, our lawyers have had recent success litigating cases against several area cardiology practice groups.