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$1M verdict for fatal bowel death after ER sent patient home (access required)

A York County jury awarded a $1 million medical-malpractice verdict to a man who claimed his wife died two days after a doctor failed to notice a dangerous increase in her heart rate during an emergency room visit. The plaintiff's lawyer said 51-year-old Deborah Kirksey was suffering from an inflamed and enlarged bowel when she went to the ER at Piedmont Medical Center in Rock Hill on June 1, 2008. During a seven-hour visit that included tests, Kirksey's heart rate accelerated from 88 beats per minute to about 113. That should have been a clue that something was wrong, lawyer Chad McGowan (pictured) said, but a doctor sent her home after failing to notice the rapid heart rate on a chart.

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