A 41-year-old firefighter who had previously run 36 marathons got cut on his leg during a fire and went to the Fire Dept Medical Clinic. He then was transferred to Bellevue for emergency treatment. He was treated with antibiotics, sewn up and released. What the medical clinic didn’t tell Mr. S. or the Bellevue staff was that several years earlier, they had discovered he had a heart murmur caused by a bicuspid aortic valve.
The medical significance is that should Mr. S. be injured he had to be treated with a very specific regimen of antibiotic therapy or it could have tragic circumstances. He was not properly treated and sustained subacute endocarditis which caused bacteria to grow like broccoli inside his aorta, causing him ultimately to be completely disabled from the fire department and from any strenuous activity. Thirteen doctors, some Fire Dept staff, some experts, some treating all testified in this case where the jury listened for four full weeks and only needed a little more than one hour to decide.