Ralph Vincent Morales secured a unanimous defense verdict on behalf of a local hospital on Tuesday, July 26, 2022 following a two week jury trial in Suffolk County before the Hon. Joseph A. Santorelli. The matter involved allegations that the hospital staff failed to consider a musculoskeletal origin for the chest pain with which the then-52-year-old female plaintiff presented to the emergency department on August 10, 2019 and that the hospital staff also departed from the standard of care by ordering a cardiac catheterization after a coronary CT angiogram showed evidence of multi-vessel blockages. The cardiac catheterization was performed at a separate facility and found no evidence of atherosclerosis.
Plaintiff produced evidence that the hospital knew that plaintiff underwent a previous coronary CT angiogram six months earlier that showed no evidence of coronary artery blockages and therefore should not have performed another coronary CT angiogram; rather, the hospital should have worked up plaintiff for musculoskeletal pain. Plaintiff also claimed that the cardiac catheterization resulted in a frozen right shoulder and diminished use of the right arm and hand. Mr. Morales successfully argued that coronary artery disease outweighed musculoskeletal pain and that an additional coronary CT angiogram was warranted because the plaintiff presented to the hospital with a history of three days of intermittent chest pain and with five risk factors for coronary artery disease. Once the diagnostic study showed evidence of coronary artery disease, a cardiac catheterization, which is the gold standard for diagnosing coronary artery disease, was indicated. Mr. Morales also successfully argued that the plaintiff had previously existing degenerative changes in her right shoulder that caused the frozen shoulder and right arm deficits.