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Medical mistake may have contributed to death of national hero

Heart disease is a major cause of death in both men and women. Improved care and new techniques can do more than ever before to improve one's chance of survival after suffering a heart attack or other heart event. Possible complications from an emergency heart bypass surgery brought on by a possible medical mistake in an Ohio hospital are being blamed for the death of Neil Armstrong whose celebrated walk on the moon happened 50 years ago.

Mr. Armstrong had what was said to be a successful cardiac bypass surgery in 2012. As part of the surgery, a temporary pacemaker was implanted to help stabilize the patient's heartbeat but according to the suit, when doctors removed the temporary device the patient began to bleed internally. He was reportedly taken to the cardiac catheterization lab and then to an operating room to attempt to stop the bleed but Mr. Armstrong died a few days later.

According to a lawsuit brought by the astronaut's sons, the doctors made a medical mistake in not taking their father immediately to the operating room. Hospital records indicate the bleed caused other problems, including reduced blood pressure. According to a doctor who reviewed the case at the family's request, the decision to go to the cardiac catheterization lab instead of directly to the operating room was a significant error. The hospital recently settled with the sons for $6 million.

When loved ones fall ill in Ohio the natural reaction is to take them to the hospital and entrust them to the care of the medical staff. Doctors are human and so are not infallible but one expects that they will always do what they can to care for their patients to the best of their ability. When a medical mistake is suspected that may have led to the death of a loved one, a consultation with a legal professional to determine if a civil suit is a viable option may be appropriate.

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