On February 3, 2009, the patient, a 51 year old male with an ejection fraction of less than 20% and a history of multiple myocardial infarctions, stent placements and balloon angioplasties, underwent a surgical procedure to insert an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). Approximately two hours after the ICD was successfully implanted, the patient died in the recovery room.
The plaintiff alleged in her wrongful death lawsuit that the patient died as a result of simultaneous stent thrombosis in the patient's left anterior descending artery and circumflex artery as a result of the discontinuation of Plavix five days prior to the procedure. The plaintiff also alleged that the defendants failed to perform an angiogram prior to the procedure and failed to discuss the risks of discontinuing Plavix for the procedure.
The defendants argued that the decision to temporarily discontinue Plavix prior to the procedure was proper as established by the ACC/AHA Guidelines for Percutaneous Coronary Intervention. Defendants also argued that the clot formation in the patient's circumflex artery was the result of unforseeable plaque rupture that could not have been prevented by either the Plavix or an additional angiogram had it been performed. During the course of the eight-day trial, the defendants demonstrated that the exercise and nuclear stress tests that were performed were adequate and did not mandate further work up of the patient for the purposes of inserting the ICD and inducing ventricular fibrillation to test the device.
At the closing arguments, plaintiff's counsel asked the jury to award $5.7 million to the widow and two children. After deliberating for approximately 90 minutes, the jury returned a verdict in favor of all defendants.