On June 11, 2019, Jonathan Turner, 35, visited an urgent care center in Philadelphia, complaining of chest pain and accompanying cardiac symptoms. The doctor he saw there performed an EKG (which showed nothing abnormal), diagnosed him with atypical chest pain, and recommended he schedule a follow-up visit at the family practice next door in a week to discuss his symptoms and a high blood pressure reading.
As he was directed, Mr. Turner visited the family practice exactly one week later on June 18, this time complaining of similar but new complaints of chest heaviness (that resolved with rest), and shortness of breath, with sweating from the head. Once again, Mr. Turner’s blood pressure test resulted in another high reading.
Instead of making a referral to a cardiologist for full cardiac work-up, the physician’s assistant Mr. Turner met with prescribed an anti-hypertensive medication and directed Mr. Turner to return to the office in one month for follow-up. The physician supervising the physician’s assistant reviewed the assistant’s office note remotely for less than a minute, elected not to see the patient, and agreed with the plan for follow-up.
But less than two weeks later, on July 1, Mr. Turner was found dead in his apartment. An autopsy confirmed his death was caused by undiagnosed and untreated coronary artery disease.
More than four years after his death, on November 22, 2023, Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C., attorneys Dan Jeck and Todd Schoenhaus obtained justice for Mr. Turner’s family by securing a $4.7 million jury verdict in a lawsuit in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas that Dan and Todd filed on the family’s behalf.
The lawsuit alleged the physician and physician’s assistant that treated Mr. Turner, and the physician assistant’s supervising physician, committed medical malpractice because Mr. Turner’s complaints, symptoms, and high blood pressure reading warranted a referral to a cardiologist on either day Mr. Turner was examined. The lawsuit claimed that if a cardiologist examined Mr. Turner, they would have found he was suffering from coronary artery disease, which they could have treated, thus saving his life.
“Mr. Turner died a preventable death while in the prime of his life,” said Dan. “We, Mr. Turner’s family, and, based on their verdict, the jury all believe that if he was referred to a cardiologist, as the standard of care required, he would still be with us today.”
“All deaths are tragedies, but this one is particularly tragic because two parents lost their son to a disease that should have been caught and treated,” added Todd. “Mr. Turner had his life to live, his girlfriend to marry, promotions to earn, and an impact to make in the world based on the youth foundation he had co-founded. But a jury determined those opportunities were taken away from him by the negligence of the defendants on trial.”
News of the verdict was covered in The Legal Intelligencer.
The case is Lorrie Jo Turner v. Dees, et al., No. 20002171, in the Court of Common Pleas for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.