Neil Armstrong’s Death Results in a $6 Million Malpractice Settlement

Wrongful Death Lawyer Phoenix AZ

“Honor his example of service, accomplishment, and modesty… the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.” Neil Armstrong’s family released this tribute following his death after undergoing heart surgery in 2012. Armstrong’s sons later contended that after the astronaut’s bypass surgery that incompetent care at Mercy Health-Fairfield Hospital is what cost Armstrong his life. A wrongful death lawyer Phoenix AZ can advise a victim’s family regarding a potential malpractice claim.

After being admitted to Fairfield Hospital with signs of heart disease, doctors at the hospital decided to perform bypass surgery. Doctors implanted temporary wires to help pace Armstrong’s heart as he recovered, a standard part of the medical procedure. Armstrong’s wife told The Associated Press that after the surgery Armstrong was “amazingly resilient” and was walking in the corridors of the hospital.

However, when a nurse removed these wires, Armstrong began to bleed internally, he was sent to the hospital’s catheterization lab, where one expert says an echocardiogram showed “significant and rapid bleeding.” Doctors decided to drain blood from his heart to prevent it from being inhibited by the accumulating fluid.

Armstrong died on August 25, 2012. At the time, his family announced that his death was caused by “complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures.”

Upon review of Armstrong’s care in Fairfield Hospital, experts focused on the decision by the hospital to take Armstrong to the catheterization lab when he showed signs of complications, instead of taking him directly to the operating room.

According to Dr. Joseph Bavaria, cardiothoracic surgery at the University of Pennsylvania, the hospital’s decision to take Armstrong to the catheterization lab “was THE major error.” A wrongful death lawyer Phoenix AZ can investigate a possible medical negligence claim, and advise the victim’s survivors about the legal process and the possibility of settlement.

Dr. Richard Salzano, a cardiothoracic surgeon at Yale Medical Center who reviewed the case for the hospital, saw the decision to bring Armstrong to the catheterization lab as “riskier than taking the patient to the O.R.” Dr. Salzano further stated that had the surgeons reopened Mr. Armstrong’s chest in the catheterization lab after the bleeding began, Armstrong may have had a 50-50 chance of survival, but that “the patient became unsalvageable on the way to the O.R.”

Mercy Health- Fairfield Hospital paid the family $6 million to settle the matter privately. Medical malpractice cases require extensive investigation, multiple experts and significant costs to pursue. A CNBC article recently stated that

  • A recent John Hopkins study claims more than 250,000 people in the U.S. die every year from medical errors. Other reports claim the numbers to be as high as 440,000.
  • Medical errors are the third-leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer.
  • Advocates are fighting back pushing for greater legislation for patient safety.

At Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, there is a Good Catch Award, given to medical personnel who identify potential or existing errors related to their patients’ care. Many physicians’ offices now keep records electronically, as well as recording conversations among doctors, nurses and their patients in order to make certain there is clarity and that no mistakes result.

Ways that patients can be better advocates:

  • Ask questions. Gain as much insight as you can from your health-care provider. Ask about the benefits, side effects and disadvantages of a recommended medication or procedure. Use social media to learn more about the patient’s own condition, as well as those medications and procedures that are prescribed.
  • Seek a second opinion. If the situation warrants or if uncertainties exist, get a second opinion from another doctor: A good doctor will welcome confirmation of his diagnosis and resist any efforts to discourage the patient from learning more.
  • Bring a family member or a friend to your appointment – someone who can understand the information and suggestions given and ask questions.

A wrongful death lawyer Phoenix AZ would get and have the decedent’s records reviewed by appropriate experts and advise the survivors, about the risks and costs of trial, the possibility of settlement, and possible outcomes at trial. Contact Paul Englander, PLC today.