The emergency medicine resident and the avoidable lawsuit (Coverys)


Dr. Theodore Watkins was a 31-year-old resident physician from Roswell, New Mexico.

He regularly went to the gym, ate a plant-based diet, and practiced meditation - in many ways he was the picture of healthy living.

Theo, as his friends and family called him, lived in a 2 bedroom apartment with his girlfriend and their dog Misty.

One night, while he was playing with his dog, his alarm rang - he had a night shift in the Emergency Room.

He scratched Misty’s belly "Time to go!

See you in the morning!”

The night shift was fairly routine - some laceration repairs, a gunshot wound, a woman with severe panic attacks, and a mix of other complaints.

The clock in the emergency department showed 5:39am when a nurse announced that there was a 43-year old male with a sudden onset of chest pain being carted in.

Dr. Watkins quickly drank up the rest of the coffee and replied: “Bring him in.”

A few moments later, a man was wheeled in on a gurney.

He was breathing heavily, holding his chest, and turning and twisting in pain.

Dr. Watkins asked the man some questions as the team begin to set up monitors, get IV access, and give pain medication.

Through gasps - the patient explained the pain started abruptly when he got out of the bed, and that he felt it everywhere including in his back.

Within moments information was flowing in.

The blood pressure in one arm was lower compared to the other one, the ECG was normal, and the lab work had been sent off.

The nursing team had also paged the overnight attending physician, Dr. Chapman, and when he called back - the phone was handed to Dr. Watkins.

“Dr. Chapman on the phone,” said the sleepy voice from the other side.

During the next few minutes, Dr. Watkins explained that they have a 43-year-old patient with unusual chest and back pain over the last couple hours, and that there was an irregularity in the inter-arm blood pressures.

He mentioned that the ECG showed no signs of a STEMI.

Dr. Chapman seemed a bit more awake and spoke with intensity.

“Alright, listen up kid.

Give him aspirin, clopidogrel, and enoxaparin.