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Urgent care clinic sued in North Huntingdon man's death

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

The family of a North Huntingdon man has sued a medical urgent care facility claiming a staff doctor misdiagnosed a heart condition that ultimately led to his death.

A two-count wrongful death lawsuit filed this week in Westmoreland County claims that William Burkus, 54, went to the MedExpress Urgent Care facility on Route 30 on Dec. 16, 2010, complaining of shoulder and neck pain.

Officials with MedExpress, which is based in Morgantown, W.Va., did not return a telephone call seeking comment.

According to the lawsuit, a staff physician conducted an electrocardiogram on Burkus that was found to be abnormal. The doctor diagnosed Burkus as suffering from "acute trapezius muscle spasm."

Burkus was sent home and instructed to apply ice and heat to his shoulder, and was given prescriptions for pain medications, his family claims.

Two days later, in the early morning of Dec. 18, Burkus died, his family claims.

"After cleaning the bathroom, Mrs. Burkus came out into the bedroom and told her husband that she was going to go downstairs because she could not fall back to sleep. Those were the last words that Mrs. Burkus ever spoke to her husband," according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges that MedExpress was negligent in failing to hire doctors with proper training and not capable of correctly diagnosing Burkus' cardiac condition. The care provider did not properly refer Burkus to a hospital emergency room for additional cardiac evaluation and treatment, the lawsuit contends.

The Burkus family is seeking an unspecified amount in damages.

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