Failure to diagnose a pulmonary embolism in a 68-year-old man.
Plaintiff’s decedent a 68-year-old barber underwent a prostatectomy for an enlarged prostate. Post surgically he began to show signs of a pulmonary embolism. He began to experience rapid respiration, shortness of breath, vomiting and anxiety. Physicians caring for him attributed his symptoms to nerves and he was encouraged to slow his breathing and failed to recognize that he was at risk for developing a pulmonary embolism due to his age and recent surgery. In actuality a pulmonary embolism had developed causing the symptoms. As a result of the failure to diagnose the pulmonary embolism, plaintiff’s decedent was brain damaged from the lack of oxygen. He remained in a chronic vegetative state for 1 1/2 years prior to his death.