Our client, a 38 year old husband and father of two children visited his internist, complaining of chest pains. Following an examination, he was advised that in all probability he had an upper digestive problem, and that he should have an upper G.I. series in one week. Feeling re-assured, he and his wife went dancing that weekend. After returning home, he complained of not feeling well. He stretched out on the bed, fell asleep, and never awakened. An autopsy established that he had suffered a fatal heart attack.
At the trial, the local medical examiner who performed the autopsy was subpoenaed by our firm. The key to the case was: when a patient complains of chest pains, the examining doctor should 'think heart', and must rule out any cardiac pathology before considering another diagnosis less threatening to life.
The trial itself became a chapter in a book and a featured article in the NY Times Sunday Magazine.