This case involves a woman who was involved in a motor vehicle accident. The individual was traveling on a local back road when she lost control of her vehicle and crashed into another vehicle traveling the opposite direction. The Plaintiff claimed that the crash resulted in serious deceleration damage to her cardiovascular system. After examination, it was noted that the plaintiff had sustained a sternal fracture. The Plaintiff also claimed a number of other injuries, including cardiac contusion, myocardial trauma, deflated right ventricle, and reduction of the right ventricle fraction, along with a host of other alleged complications. The Plaintiff has claimed that her life expectancy has been shortened as a direct result of the injuries she suffered in the accident.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Is it likely that the injuries claimed by the Plaintiff were caused by the accident?
Expert Witness Response E-007032
The usual complications after blunt sternal trauma to the chest usually involve aortic rupture or cardiac tamponade and in rare cases rupture of the interventricular cardiac septum. All these have catastrophic lethal consequence which usually present at the time of the accident. What she is describing in his claims are the results of a nuclear stress test and an echocardiogram for someone who has coronary artery disease – which is completely unrelated to the plaintiff’s accident. It appears as though she likely has an old inferior MI or ischemia in the right coronary territory that results in her abnormal test results. This is a result of the process of atherosclerosis , exacerbated by her lifestyle choices rather than a result of her accident. The most dire consequences of blunt chest trauma would have happened at the scene of the accident. If the plaintiff has survived the accident, her cardiovascular life expectancy has likely not changed because of the accident. It is rather her underlying established coronary artery disease and ejection fraction and will determine her prognosis.
Expert Witness Response E-001200
Blunt cardiac trauma from a motor vehicle accident is very common, but usually very minor in severity. In addition, many patients will have elevated cardiac biomarkers suggesting myocardial injury but have no long term sequelae. Severe injury does happen on rare occasions but these patients are usually hypotensive and in cardiogenic shock. Moreover, if they survive the initial hospitalization, long term sequelae are quite rare. It’s fairly likely that a patient with this woman’s medical history could have other reasons for heart problems. This could be sorted out if other studies were done at the time of the accident and her initial hospitalization. such as a stress test, echocardiogram, coronary angiogram, and others.