Lawsuit Alleges Misdiagnosis Led to Patient Death

Whitney Taylor | August 24th, 2016

female doctorA medical malpractice lawsuit has been filed against the University of Vermont Medical Center by a family that claims a misdiagnosis and mistreatment led to the untimely death of their family member. The 44-year-old from Chazy Lake, New York, died at the hospital on February 18, 2016, from a bilateral pulmonary embolism.

Martin LaPoint had been seen at UVM numerous times beginning on February 11 due to complications after treatment of spinal disc extrusion. LaPoint had undergone surgery for the condition at the hospital and had suffered unspecified complications afterward. During that time, the family alleges a compression device was improperly used to treat suspected blood clots in his lower legs.

Blood clots lead to deadly event

Unfortunately, the blood clots went undiagnosed until they caused a potentially deadly event known as a pulmonary embolism. This occurs when a blood clot breaks free from its original location in a vein of the leg and travels through the bloodstream to the lung. In LaPoint’s case, blood clots traveled to both lungs, a condition known as a bilateral pulmonary embolism.

Pulmonary embolism is a life-threatening condition that requires emergency medical treatment. Despite the fact that LaPoint was in the hospital when the pulmonary embolism occurred, he ended up dying from the condition. His family is now seeking damages from the hospital, claiming the misdiagnosis of the blood clots and the improper use of the compression device led to LaPoint’s death.

“UM was negligent and deviated from the required standard of care in failing to properly diagnose and treat Mr. LaPoint’s medical condition,” the complaint states.

According to LaPoint’s obituary, published in The Malone Telegram, LaPoint was a licensed real estate agent who also worked as a heating, ventilation and air conditioning specialist at the hospital. He was survived by his partner, mother, sister, brother-in-law and two nieces. The specific plaintiffs in the case are LaPoint’s mother and sister.

Blood clots in the legs, known as deep vein thrombosis or DVT, are a common complication after surgery. The problem is often due to the extended bed rest a patient must take while recovering from the procedure. There are a number of ways to prevent, diagnose and treat DVT to avoid a pulmonary embolism. Those include medications to prevent the clot from enlarging, medications to actually dissolve the clot, and filters placed in the large vein of the body to keep the clot from traveling to the lung. Compression therapy is typically used to prevent DVT from developing.

Legal guidance for pursuing misdiagnosis lawsuits

There was a total of $3.5 million in medical malpractice payouts made in Vermont in 2015, according to Diederich Healthcare. Vermont was one of the five states with the lowest medical malpractice payouts during that year. The majority of malpractice payouts were due to mistakes in diagnosis, followed by errors in surgery and treatment.

If you or someone you love has suffered harm because of a misdiagnosis in New York, legal help is available. Contact The Sanders Firm to find out if you are eligible for monetary damages for medical expenses, lost wages and other losses.

To discuss your rights and your legal options, call our office today at 1.800.FAIR.PLAY.


  1. Burlington Free Press, UVM Hospital Sued after Patient’s Death, http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/story/news/local/2016/08/17/uvm-hospital-sued-patient-death/88892340/

  2. The Malone Telegram, Obituary – Martin LaPoint, http://www.mymalonetelegram.com/mtg03/martin-lapoint-20160220

  3. St. Luke’s Health System, DVT Prevention: Intermittent Pneumatic Compression Devices, http://www.saintlukeshealthsystem.org/health-library/dvt-prevention-intermittent-pneumatic-compression-devices

  4. Diederich Healthcare, 2015 Medical Malpractice Payout Analysis, http://www.diederichhealthcare.com/the-standard/2015-medical-malpractice-payout-analysis/