The plaintiff is the widow of Robert Waters, who was 38 years old at the time of his death. Mr. Waters, who had a history of high blood pressure, experienced chest pains on August 30, 2007; he was taken to North Kansas City Hospital, where he was kept overnight. Early the next morning, tests revealed he had experienced a heart attack. In the early afternoon, a diagnostic cardiac catheterization revealed several blockages in the coronary arteries. Defendant Dr. Mitchell, an employee of defendant Meritas, was called to perform a balloon angioplasty and stent placement on a 90 percent blockage in branches of the circumflex artery. During the placement of wires and prior to inserting the balloons, a dissection occurred in the circumflex. Mr. Waters felt back pain, became combative, and tried to get off the table while Dr. Mitchell was still performing the procedure. Dr. Mitchell called for anesthesia, but intubation was difficult due to the patient’s size. Before successful intubation, Mr. Waters’s heart stopped. CPR was undertaken, but Mr. Waters died at 4:45 P.M. The plaintiff brought suit claiming that Dr. Mitchell failed to recognize and treat an injury to the left main artery in a timely manner, which contributed to and caused death. The defendants claimed there was no injury in the left main artery (although there was a dissection in the circumflex) and that Dr. Mitchell met the standard of care. The defendants claimed death was due to hypoxia from a prolonged and difficult intubation.
After seven days of evidence the jury found in favor of the defendants.