Medical Error Case

Here’s a summary of an important medical error case. Dr. Hyeun Park was Seoung Ouk Cho’s cardiologist. On April 23, 2009, Dr. Park examined Cho.

Cho complained of chest pain and had an abnormal EKG.  Dr. Park admitted Cho to Trinitas Regional Medical Center.  John H. Shao, M.D. performed a heart catheterization and an angioplasty (stent).
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On June 25, Shao performed a second stenting procedure. On July 16, Cho complained to Park that he “was feeling a little bit worse.” Park performed an EKG.  It was normal.  Park then referred Cho for a stress test.

On July 21, Edward G. Williams, M.D., administered the stress test.  Dr. Williams stopped the stress test after about six minutes. (Cho’s EKG had changed. Cho also was experiencing chest pain.) Williams administered nitroglycerin spray.  Cho’s chest pain went away.

Dr. Williams reached out for Dr. Shao. He explained the results of the stress test to a covering physician. That doctor admitted Cho to Trinitas.

On July 23, while waiting for a scheduled cardiac catheterization, Cho suffered a fatal cardiac arrest.

Cho’s siblings, Yunjin Jo and Young Ho Jo, and Cho’s fiancée, Hannah Cui, sued for medical error and wrongful death.

DOCTOR TRIES LAST MINUTE TO AVOID TRIAL IN MEDICAL ERROR CASE

Jury selection for a trial against Dr. Park was scheduled for April 2, 2013. On April 1, Park’s lawyer filed a 260-page motion to dismiss the medical error case. With the trial scheduled to begin the next day, the lawyer for the family members only was able to file a five-page response. Nonetheless, the Judge granted the motion. The judge dismissed the lawsuit without a trial.

The family appealed. The appeals court ruled that the motion could have been made much earlier.  The case was pending for several years.  The doctor basically waited to the last minute.  In effect, the doctor “ambushed” the family with a surprise motion. That simply wasn’t fair.

Therefore, the appeals court reversed the dismissal. It ordered the medical error case restored to the trial calendar.

I believe that the appeals court’s ruling was correct.

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