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A Surgeon’s Misidentification of Cardiac Anatomy results in a Man’s Heart Being Improperly Grafted at the LAD Rather than the Circumflex

On Behalf of | Mar 11, 2016 | Medical Malpractice

Our client was a businessman who regularly traveled to differed parts of the country to check on various plant locations. During a visit to one of the Louisiana locations he began experiencing chest pains. He was admitted to the hospital with a subendocardial myocardial infarction. Cardiac catheterization at the hospital revealed an occluded graft to the circumflex and right coronary artery (RCA) distributions, but clearly showed a patent left anterior descending artery (LAD). He was placed under the care and treatment of a cardiovascular surgeon. His surgeon planned to revascularize the occluded circumflex and RCA, but instead, misidentified the LAD and placed a safphenous vein graft into the already patent LAD. During the surgery our client’s groin was also opened up in anticipation for the need to harvest additional vessels, but was never used. In his operative report the cardiovascular surgeon never reported his surgical error, nor did he note any surgical complications. Postoperatively, our client experienced redness, warmth, and pain at the groin wound. He was never evaluated by the hospital staff for these symptoms. He was discharged from the hospital without any further evaluation.

About a month later, our client was admitted to a different hospital in another state. He had a high fever and a left groin wound infection, with highly resistant e-coli. He was also still experiencing chest pain and shortness of breath on exertion. He had an abnormal stress echocardiogram and underwent a cardiac catheterization. The cardiac catheterization revealed the misplaced graft to the already patent LAD. This misplaced graft was causing competitive flow issues. The catheterization also revealed that the circumflex had not been revascularized.

As a result of cardiovascular surgeon’s misidentification of our client’s anatomy, and the placement of a graft in the wrong cardiac region, our client will now forever have chest pain and shortness of breath. He suffered pain and discomfort, and now will no longer be able enjoy life as he once did. This client enjoyed traveling all over the country and flying his airplane; he no longer is able to participate in these activities because of his heart problems caused by a cardiovascular surgeon’s poor treatment.

This case was tried in court where multiple experts testified on our client’s behalf. Although the medical review panel opinion was 3-0 in favor of the defendant, Todd Townsley hired experts to fight this case. A cardiologist and cardiovascular surgeon both testified that the misidentification of major vessels of the heart is not an acceptable mistake to be made by a cardiovascular surgeon. Moreover, a world renowned cardiovascular surgeon testified as to how the surgery should have been correctly performed, and how the wound in our client’s groin should have been cared for postoperatively. Through the use of expert testimony, Todd Townsley was able to win this case, and a substantial judgment was rendered for our client against the cardiovascular surgeon and his professional insurance provider. The doctor and the Patient’s Compensations Fund paid the full judgment.


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