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Jury awards $1.3M for missed heart attack diagnosis in 23-year-old man

A Montgomery County jury awarded $1.3 million to the parents of a man who did not receive prompt medical care after going to the hospital with chest pain and died of complications from a heart attack.

The verdict found the emergency room physician, Dr. Guy Patrick Murphy, and Silver Spring Emergency Physicians P.C., liable for the death of 23-year-old Ruben Bastien.

The jury awarded $300,000 to Bastien’s estate and an additional $1 million to his parents, which will be reduced to $962,500 under the state’s cap on noneconomic damages, and funeral expenses, which were reduced to $10,000 under another state cap. Jurors deliberated for more than six hours before returning the verdict Nov. 20.

“The parents are still mourning the death of their son but are grateful for the jury’s verdict,” attorney Jonathan Goldberg said Thursday.

Goldberg, of Schochor, Federico & Staton P.A. in Baltimore, represented Bastien’s parents with Tara Clary and Jonathan Huddleston.

Bastien was taken to Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring for chest pains around 9 p.m. on March 12, 2016, according to the complaint. Despite an “obviously abnormal” electrocardiogram and other indications of a heart attack, Bastien received medication for pain but was not referred to a cardiologist for several hours and not seen by one until the following morning.

After being transferred to another hospital to receive a stent around 11 a.m. on March 13, Bastien went into cardiac arrest during the procedure and though doctors were able to restart his heart, he was brain dead, according to Goldberg. He died on March 16.

The cardiologist and hospitalist from Holy Cross and their respective practices were included in the lawsuit but found not liable, Goldberg said.

During the 10-day trial, the parties called cardiology, emergency medicine and hospitalist experts.

“What stuck out, I think, was the fact that it took a long time to diagnose the heart attack when all of the information was present pretty quickly,” Goldberg said. “Earlier intervention would have saved his life.”

Murphy was represented by Michael E. Olszewski of Hancock, Daniel & Johnson P.C. in Fairfax. He did not respond to a request for comment. Attorneys for the defendants found not liable also did not respond.

M.L. Bastien et al. v. Dawn Dew, M.D., et al.

Court: Montgomery County Circuit

Case No.: 435831-V

Judge: Sharon V. Burrell

Proceeding: Jury trial

Outcome: Verdict for plaintiff against Guy Patrick Murphy and Silver Spring Emergency Physicians P.C.; no liability for Dawn Dew, Inpatient Consultants of Maryland P.C., Peter Sabia, Associates in Cardiology P.A.


Incident: March 12, 2016 to March 16, 2016

Suit filed: Aug. 18, 2017

Verdict: Nov. 20, 2018

Plaintiffs’ Attorneys: Tana Clary, Jonathan Huddleston and Jonathan Goldberg of Schochor, Federico & Staton P.A.

Defendants’ Attorneys: Michael E. Olszewski of Hancock, Daniel & Johnson P.C. in Fairfax for Murphy and Silver Spring Emergency Physicians; Andrew E. Vernick of Vernick & Associates in Annapolis for Dew and Inpatient Consultants of Maryland P.C.; H. Kenneth Armstrong of Armstrong, Donogue, Ceppos, Vaughan & Rhoades Chtd. in Rockville for Sabia and Associates in Cardiology

Counts: Wrongful death and survival action

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