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$6.4 Million Award for Medical Malpractice

CLAYTON, Mo. (CN) - A St. Louis County jury awarded $6.4 million to a man and his wife in a medical malpractice lawsuit, six years after the man suffered a stroke.

It's one of the largest medical malpractice awards ever in the state, Missouri Lawyers Weekly reported.

Jeffrey Schneider, 59, and his wife, Connie, sued SSM DePaul Medical Group and Dr. Joseph Thompson in 2008. That lawsuit was dismissed without prejudice in 2011; the Schneiders refiled it that year.

Jeffrey Schneider was diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse in 1996, which can cause blood to flow backward in the heart. An echocardiogram in 2001 confirmed the condition, but the Schneiders claim no follow-up echocardiograms were ordered and that the condition disappeared from Schneider's medical file after March 2002.

Schneider became ill in April 2007 and claimed he told Thompson he felt like he was going to die.

In May 2007, Connie Schneider said, she asked Thompson to admit her husband to a hospital due to his deteriorating condition, but was told to wait for test results from a hematologist. The Schneiders claims that Thompson did not refer Jeffrey to a cardiologist or order any tests on his heart.

Jeffrey suffered an acute stroke on June 12, 2007, due to a bacterial infection on a heart valve. He now has restricted use of the right side of his body, difficulty processing words and damage to his short-term memory.

Defense attorneys argued unsuccessfully that the Schneiders failed to prove negligence or that the alleged negligence caused the stroke.

Jeffrey Schneider was a bank examiner and an IT specialist at the Federal Reserve Bank, and has not worked since his stroke.

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