An example of a misdiagnosis of heart condition and the resulting verdict.
Jun. 3–Daniel Bettencourt was 49 when he suffered a fatal heart attack while working as a manual laborer at E.&J. Gallo Winery on Jan. 15, 2003.
An autopsy determined that the Modesto man had more than 90 percent blockage in an artery that supplies blood to the left side of the heart.
Last week, a jury found that Gould Medical Group doctors had failed to diagnose Bettencourt’s heart condition.
The verdict, supported by 11 of the 12 jurors following a civil trial in Stanislaus County Superior Court, awarded $878,257 to his widow, Peggy Bettencourt. Because Gould turned down a settlement offer last year, the medical group may have to pay interest and legal costs, bringing the judgment to almost $1 million.
Stockton attorney Stewart Tabak, who represents Bettencourt, said there were two key issues in the case: A Gould cardiologist failed to order a coronary angiograph test for Daniel Bettencourt to look for artery blockage and disregarded a family history of heart disease. Bettencourt’s mother had bypass surgery in her 50s, Tabak said.
"This young man gave repeated red flags that something serious was going on," he said. "Regrettably, he fell through the cracks and he was allowed to die."
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