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Malpractice - Verdict in favor of Defendant

Case Name:William S. Trump, Jr., et al. v. Adel El-Bialy, M.D.
Case Number:BC462043
Verdict Date:2015-08-19
Outcome TypeJury Verdict
Court:Kathryn Trump ("decedent"), a 52-year-old patient, suffered from irreversible end-stage cardiomyopathy and was a candidate for a heart transplant. Defendant cardiologist Adel El-Bialy, M.D., provided cardiac care and treatment to Mrs. Trump on February 23

Plaintiff's Complaint:
Kathryn Trump ("decedent"), a 52-year-old patient, suffered from irreversible end-stage cardiomyopathy and was a candidate for a heart transplant. Defendant cardiologist Adel El-Bialy, M.D., provided cardiac care and treatment to Mrs. Trump on February 23, 2010, when she presented to the Emergency Department of Providence Holy Cross Medical Center with complaints of chest pain, severe shortness of breath, and palpitations. She was later admitted to the ICU. The following day, on the morning of February 24, 2010, Dr. El-Bialy ordered Digoxin to enhance cardiac function. At 10:10 a.m., Mrs. Trump went into cardiac arrest. Dr. El-Bialy ran the code for 35 minutes and advanced cardiac life support measures were initiated. Mrs. Trump was intubated and Dr. El-Bialy placed a temporary pacer. An eventual return in pulse was obtained. An EEG taken on February 25, 2010 revealed anoxic encephalopathy (lack of oxygen to the brain causing damage) and ultimately a decision was made by the family to withdraw care on March 2, 2010.\n\nPlaintiffs allege that Dr. El-Bialy deviated from the standard of care in prescribing Digoxin in the setting of an abnormally low potassium level, leading to Digoxin toxicity and the decedent' cardiac arrest and brain damage. The defense maintained that Dr. El-Bialy practiced within the standard of care by ordering Digoxin one hour after oral and IV potassium was started despite the fact that he did not order a specific potassium blood level before Digoxin was administered. Plaintiff' expert contended the failure to determine potassium levels was a violation of the standard of care because there was no way to know if the potassium had returned to normal levels. Defense experts opined that the potassium levels were adequately restored, there was no Digoxin toxicity, and that the arrest was due to a weakened heart. \n\nMrs. Trump was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (a disease in which the heart muscle becomes abnormally thick) at age 18, and had a significant family history of cardiac disease and sudden death at young ages, including her father who died suddenly at age 49 of a myocardial infarction after heart valve repair, and her sister, who was diagnosed with cardiac disease and died suddenly due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy at age 36 while on a heart transplant list in Michigan. \n\nMrs. Trump had a 30-year history of arrhythmias. She eventually had a dual chamber implantable cardioverter defibrillator (AICD) implanted in 2005. After undergoing nine electrical cardioversions to restore her heart rhythm and following numerous emergency visits and admissions to hospitals for treatment of congestive heart failure, Mrs. Trump was evaluated for a heart transplant at UCLA in 2009. By this time, Mrs. Trump was experiencing atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter with worsening left ventricular function and congestive heart failure, with no signs of clinical improvement. Mrs. Trump reported that she no longer had an adequate quality of life. UCLA physicians determined that Mrs. Trump was an appropriate candidate for a heart transplant. \n\nMrs. Trump' health insurance carrier advised in November 2009 that it would no longer cover treatment with her doctors at UCLA. Mrs. Trump' medical records were transferred to USC for transplant evaluation. However, on February 16, 2010, she was denied entry to the Heart Transplant Program at USC because she was misclassified as a "post-heart transplant"patient. Mrs. Trump passed away before she was placed on a transplant list. \n\nMrs. Trump presented to the Emergency Department at Providence Holy Cross two days after receiving the letter from USC. She was admitted to the ICU for treatment of her renal failure, a low ejection fraction of 20%, and end-stage cardiomyopathy. \n\nAn autopsy by the L.A. County Coroner reported that Mrs. Trump died of natural causes resulting from a dilated cardiomyopathy of years in duration. Plaintiffs claimed that had her congestive heart failure been managed appropriately, she would have survived and received a heart transplant within 90-100 days.

Injury, Damage, or Loss:
Plaintiffs (husband, son, and daughter) attribute loss of love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society, and moral support of Mrs. Trump due to the incident and requested economic compensation in this regard. In addition, Plaintiffs sought the present value of Mrs. Trump' total loss of earnings at $116,017 as well as the present value of the loss of Mrs. Trump' household services at $158,995 for a total of $275,012 in economic damages.

Defendant's Wrongdoing:

Plaintiff's Attorneys:
John Denove, Esq.\nShane Hapuarachy, Esq. \nCheong, Denove, Rowell & Bennett\n10100 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 2460\nLos Angeles, CA 90067\n(310) 277-4857

Defendant's Attorneys:
David J. Weiss\nSigalit V. Noureal\nLaw Offices of David J. Weiss\n11340 W. Olympic Blvd. Suite 100\nLos Angeles, CA 90064\n310-575-9566

Honorable Ralph Dau\nSuperior Court of the State of California\n111 North Hill Street\nLos Angeles, CA 90012\n(213) 633-1091

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Published on Apr-29-16


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