Ruptured artery leads to wrongful death suit

October 29, 1990|By Sue Miller | Sue Miller,Evening Sun Staff

The wife of a 60-year-old insurance executive, who bled to death after an artery in his leg ruptured in front of Memorial Stadium, has filed a wrongful death suit with the Maryland Health Claims Arbitration Office.

Edward A. Ruddick was on his way to an Oriole baseball game with his two sons on May 21 when the synthetic graft that was carrying blood from his upper to his lower right leg broke loose.

He died at 8:15 that night, 35 minutes after he was taken by ambulance to nearby Union Memorial Hospital. There, 12 days earlier, he had undergone bypass surgery to replace a narrowed artery and restore adequate circulation to his leg.

Ruddick lived in western Baltimore County with his wife of 35 years.

In the suit filed earlier this month, Norma C. Ruddick contends her husband did not require the bypass surgery performed by Dr. Francisco J. Criado, a vascular surgeon. The surgery was performed on the basis of complaints that Ruddick would develop pain in his right leg after a half-mile walk, the suit said.

Criado heads the Maryland Vascular Institute, Inc., at Union Memorial Hospital.

Ruddick's wife further alleges that Criado negligently sutured the synthetic graft into position above the knee, where it later fell apart.

"The story has been portrayed entirely the wrong way," Criado said when asked to comment on the suit. "We have not done anything wrong and this will be demonstrated as the legal process is allowed to proceed."

The suit contends that four times during the three days before he died, Ruddick had called Criado's office and was advised by physicians and nurses that "bleeding and numbness was nothing that should concern him," the suit alleges. Because of that advice, he agreed to attend the Oriole baseball game with his sons.

Bleeding following bypass surgery is a warning sign that immediate treatment is necessary to avoid developing a hemorrhage, according to Marvin Ellin, Norma Ruddick's attorney.

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