The widow of a man who died from heart disease is suing the hospital where her husband was treated, alleging that they failed to diagnose and treat the medical condition despite aggressive efforts made by the patient and his family to obtain that treatment.

The family says that on multiple occasions doctors did not order or re-order tests that had been previously recommended as necessary for a proper diagnosis. First, a CT angiogram was ordered by a hospital that the man was taken to for emergency care, but because of some insurance coverage issues it was not performed and was not performed on later visits to other hospitals even though the recommendation had been noted on his chart. Later a stress test was inconclusive and doctors did not order another one. This type of confusion and failure to act continued for several months, according to the lawsuit.

His family says the lack of proper diagnostic tests resulted in doctors overlooking the seriousness of the condition and failing to offer appropriate treatment. The man died before proper diagnostic tests were every completed.

Doctors have a duty to act responsibly and to make sure that patients under their care get the tests they need so that they can be treated for their condition. It is not clear what caused the lack of proper testing and diagnosis in this case, but it difficult to imagine why a doctor would see a chart and view orders for tests from other physicians and failed to have those tests completed.

Source: Courthouse News Service, "Family Blames Kaiser for Dad's Death," Barbara Wallace, Jan. 3, 2014