On October 12, 2017 the New York Court of Appeals reinstated the wrongful death medical malpractice claim filed by the family of a patient who died of cardiac arrest when he was taken off blood thinners. The patient had a stent placed in a coronary artery that was 100% blocked and as per standard practice was instructed to take blood thinners on a daily basis to reduce the risk of a clot. More than 3 years later he was scheduled for a kidney biopsy and his cardiologist instructed him to stop taking the blood thinner for 3 days before the kidney biopsy and 7-9 days after. The biopsy was cancelled for undisclosed reasons but the patient died of cardiac arrest one day after the biopsy had been scheduled.
The family practitioner and cardiologist were both sued. However, the family practitioner was dismissed from the case because the Court found that the cardiologist had made all decisions about starting and stopping the blood thinners. The cardiologist had also been dismissed from the case but the Court of Appeals held that a jury trial should be held despite the defense that patients normally are taken off blood thinners within one year of a stent placement. The Court of Appeals stated that the cardiologist has to stand trial even though there was undisputed evidence that blood thinners such as "plavix and aspirin retain approximately 70% of their effects three days after discontinuance." Burns v Goyal, 2017 WL 4541637