Medical Malpractice Verdicts and Settlements

  1. Judith L. – Failure to Diagnose Colon Cancer
  2. Vera E. – Wrongful Death from Perforated Small Intestine
  3. Christopher S. – Enlargement Surgery Goes Wrong
  4. Brenda W.- Wrongful Death in Failure to Timely Treat Acute Bowel
  5. Keith T. – Failure to Diagnose Hodgkins Results in Spinal Injuries
  6. Adam R. – Missed Diagnoses of Hodgkins Disease
  7. Lucy A.- Surgical errors cause permanent foot damage.


Medical Malpractice – Failure to Diagnose Colon Cancer
XV/16-38 MEDICAL MALPRACTICE FAILURE TO DIAGNOSE COLON CANCER

PLAINTIFF DIED SHORTLY AFTER SETTLEMENT WAS REACHED

SETTLEMENT: Judith and Matthew L. v. Dr. Carl Friedman and Dr. Joseph Marzouk 13958/94 Date of Settlement 8/97 Nassau Supreme

Pltf. Atty: Daniel P. Buttafuoco and James McCarthy of Daniel P. Buttafuoco & Assoc., Mineola.

This medical malpractice action settled for $880,000 during jury selection. Pltf., a 42-year-old homemaker at the time, presented to Deft. Marzouk in 9/92 with complaints of rectal bleeding, cramps, and fatigue. He saw Pltf. on two occasions, and after a proctoscopic examination, determined that Pltf. had hemorrhoids, and prescribed suppositories. He diagnosed her condition as irritable bowel syndrome and a spastic colon. Pltf. still experienced the same symptoms, and in 11/92 sought treatment with Deft. Friedman, a gastroenterologist. Friedman attempted a barium enema in 12/92, but Pltf. was unable to tolerate the procedure because it was too painful. Friedman contended that in 1/93 he recommended a sigmoidoscopy which, he claimed, Pltf. refused. Pltf. contended that she treated with Friedman until 5/93, at which time he performed a sigmoidoscopy that revealed a significant lesion in the sigmoid colon, with 98% blockage. Friedman referred her in 6/93 for a colonoscopy at Winthrop Hospital, where it was determined that the lesion was cancerous. A sigmoid colon resection was performed, but the cancer had metastasized and spread to both lungs and Pltf.’s left ovary. Pltf. died about 3 weeks after this settlement was reached.

Pltf. denied that Friedman recommended a sigmoidoscopy in 1/93. She contended that if he had done the procedure, he would have found that the lesion was cancerous. She claimed that the delay in performing the sigmoidoscopy allowed the cancer to metastasize. Defts. would have argued that the cancer was longstanding in nature, and had existed prior to 9/92. Deft. Marzouk would have argued that he treated Pltf. early on, and that she did not require a sigmoidoscopy at that time. Friedman would have argued that he advised Pltf. to undergo a sigmoidoscopy in 1/93, and that she refused, and he contended that her condition was longstanding even before she presented to him. Carriers: PRI for Friedman; Medical Liability Mutual for Marzouk. Settlement apportionment: $500,000 paid by Friedman; $380,000 paid by Marzouk.

BACK TO TOP



Medical Malpractice – Wrongful Death from Perforated Small Intestine
XIII/48-37 MEDICAL MALPRACTICE LYSIS OF ADHESIONS PERFORATED SMALL INTESTINE FAILURE TO DIAGNOSE PERITONITIS WRONGFUL DEATH

SETTLEMENT: Horace E., as Adm. of the Est. of Vera E. v. NYCHHC and Dr. John Cosgrove 14721/94 Date of Settlement 4/24/96 Queens Supreme

Pltf. Atty: Daniel P. Buttafuoco, Mineola.

This action settled during jury selection for $1,500,000. Decedent, a 45-year-old hairdresser, presented to Queens Hospital Center on 9/19/91 with severe abdominal pain. She underwent an exploratory laparotomy on 9/21, which revealed a small bowel obstruction that had been caused by adhesions from a tubal ligation performed years before. Deft. Dr. Cosgrove performed a lysis of adhesions. Pltf. claimed that during the procedure Deft. Cosgrove perforated the small intestine. After the surgery was completed, decedent developed a hole in her intestine. Bowel contents leaked into her peritoneal cavity, causing peritonitis, and requiring a second surgery on 9/27/91. It was during the second procedure that Deft. discovered the perforated intestine and found that the cavity had become contaminated. Deft. performed an anastomosis and a section of the perforated intestine was removed and sent to pathology. The hole was 2 cm. wide. The peritonitis subsequently developed into sepsis and although decedent had been on maximum IV from 9/29, she died from an overwhelming infection on 10/4/91.

Pltf. claimed that Deft. created the perforation by improperly performing the surgery, and that Deft. waited too long to perform the second procedure despite the signs of infection.

Deft. denied that he perforated the small intestine, and claimed that it subsequently spontaneously ruptured. He argued that decedent did not have an infection when the second procedure was performed. Deft. contended that decedent should have recovered after the anastomosis, but she was suffering from pneumonia and pelvic inflammatory disease, which may have caused her death.

Pltf. claimed that decedent earned $700 a week. Deft. argued that Pltf. could not prove the lost earnings because decedent did not have any tax returns. Deft. also contended that employees at the beauty parlor where decedent claimed that she worked denied that they knew her.

Decedent, age 45 at her death, is survived by her 49-year-old husband and six adult children.

BACK TO TOP



Medical Malpractice – Enlargement Surgery Goes Wrong
XIX/14-1S MEDICAL MALPRACTICE PENILE ENLARGEMENT SURGERY SCARRING, SHORTENING, AND DEFORMITY OF THE PENIS, IMPOTENCE

SETTLEMENT: Christopher S. v. Jonathan Schwartz 11318/98 Date of Settlement 6/15/01 Queens Supreme

Pltf. Atty: James S. McCarthy of Daniel Buttafuoco & Associates, Woodbury.

Deft. Atty: David S. Pallai of Charles X. Connick, Mineola.

This action settled for $500,000 after Deft’s testimony at trial. Pltf., a 21-year-old bail bondsman, underwent penis enlargement surgery, which was performed by Deft. Pltf. claimed that following the surgery he suffered impotence as well as scarring, shortening, and deformity of the penis. He underwent three corrective procedures. Pltf. claimed that Deft. failed to obtain his proper informed consent and that the procedure was unsafe and contraindicated and should not have been performed. Deft. argued that he had obtained Pltf. s proper informed consent and that Pltf. had signed a 4-page consent form. He contended that Pltf.’s injuries were a known risk of the procedure and that the procedure was performed properly. Carrier: MLM.

BACK TO TOP



Medical Malpractice – Wrongful Death in Failure to Timely Treat Acute Bowel
XIX/28-33 MEDICAL MALPRACTICE FAILURE TO TIMELY TREAT ACUTE ABDOMEN BOWEL RESECTION AND ILEOSTOMY, WRONGFUL DEATH OF 34- YEAR- OLD WOMAN

SETTLEMENT: Estate of Brenda W. v. Brooklyn Hospital and Dr. Ulhas Lotlikar 48189/97 Date of Settlement 11/29/01 Kings Supreme

Pltf. Atty: James S. McCarthy of Daniel Buttafuoco & Associates, Woodbury.

Deft. Atty: Guy A. Lawrence of Bower, Sanger & Lawrence, P .C., Manhattan, for Brooklyn Hospital Victor C. Piacentile, Jr. of Kopff, Nardelli & Dopf, L.L. P., Manhattan, for Lotlikar.

This medical malpractice action settled for $2,000,000 before jury selection. On 12/21/95, Pltf.’s decedent, then a 34-year-old clerk for the City of New York, presented to the emergency room at Deft. hospital with complaints of severe abdominal pain. She was diagnosed with food poisoning and was given a prescription for medication and was discharged. On 12/23/95, decedent returned with continued abdominal pain. A diagnosis of acute abdomen was made, and Deft. Lotlikar performed surgery. During the surgery, Lotlikar found an embolus on the superior mesenteric artery. A vascular surgeon was able to resect the embolus and revisualize the bowel. Dr. Lotlikar resected the affected portion of bowel and performed an ileostomy. The next day, Deft. performed another surgical procedure to re-examine the bowel for viability. During that procedure, he took down the ileostomy and reconnected the bowel. Decedent remained hospitalized and required two additional surgeries for bowel obstructions. She died on 2/12/96.

Pltf. brought this action claiming that the hospital was negligent in failing to admit decedent on 12/21/95. Pltf. contended that Lotlikar prematurely took down the ileostomy and did not allow the bowel to heal after the vascular surgery. Defts. argued that decedent suffered from a serious medical condition that has a high rate of mortality . Defts. contended that proper protocol was followed for this type of surgery, and argued that any delay in treatment did not make any difference in the outcome, because decedent would have still required the same procedures.

Pltf.’s decedent, age 34 at the time ofher death on 2/12/96, is survived by three children, ages 3, 11, and 17. Carriers: Group Counsel ( to $1,000,000); CCC Insurance is the excess carrier.

BACK TO TOP



Medical Malpractice – Failure to Diagnose Hodgkins Results in Spinal Injuries
VIII/19-7 MEDICAL MALPRACTICE -FAILURE TO DIAGNOSE HODGKIN’S DISEASE -SPINAL CORD COMPRESSION

Keith T. v. Southside Hospital; Dr. David Steres; Patchogue Health Center; County of Suffolk; Dr. Robert Frank; and National Emergency Service, Inc. 10305/85 27-day trial Verdict 6/14/90 Judge George A. Murphy, Nassau

Supreme.

VERDICT: $500,000 v. Steres and Patchogue Health Center. Dr. Steres and Patchogue Health Center settled before trial for $500,000.

Liability: Steres and Patchogue Health Center 75%; Pltf. 25% negligent. Breakdown: $100,000 for past pain and suffering; $200,000 for future pain and suffering; $50,000 for past lost earnings; $110,000 for future lost earnings; $40,000 for medical expenses. Defense verdict for Southside, Frank, and National

Health Service. Post-trial motions were denied. Jury: 2 male, 4 female.

Pltf. Atty: Daniel P. Buttafuoco, Mineola.

Deft. Atty: Robert Adelman of Bower & Gardner, Manhattan.

Facts: Pltf., a 34-year-old unemployed handyman, was living with his parents in Summer 1982 when he developed back and chest pain while working on his parents’ farm in Suffolk County. He assumed that the pain was merely a muscle spasm but the pain worsened, and he presented to Deft. Southside Hospital where an emergency room physician employed by National Emergency Services attended to him. Pltf. was X-rayed and discharged without diagnosis. The hospital records indicated that Pltf.’s chest and back pain were of unknown etiology. Pltf. was told to see his own doctor but, as he did not have a family physician, he was directed to the Brentwood Health Clinic. On 8/29/82, he presented to Patchogue Health Clinic (a County-owned facility) where he was seen by Deft. Dr. Steres (75% liable, settled before trial). Dr. Steres found neurological symptoms and told Pltf. to return in 2-3 weeks for a full workup. In the interim, the Southside Hospital radiologist read Pltf.’s X-rays and reported findings suggestive of a tumor, but never informed Pltf. of these findings. This information was filed in the hospital report. In September 1982, Pltf. underwent a complete physical exam, during which he was in such pain that the examining physician administered three Demerol shots. Pltf. was advised to return for a final diagnosis, but presented instead to Deft. Dr. Robert Frank, a chiropractor, on 1/6/83. Pltf. visited Dr. Frank periodically, but his pain worsened. In February 1983, Dr. Frank noted that Pltf. had swollen lymph nodes. On 2/25/83, Pltf. became paralyzed from the waist down. He was brought to Stony Brook Hospital where he remained for 6 months. Pltf. was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease and spinal cord compression, resulting in loss of sensation from the waist down and an inability to walk without a cane. Pltf. also suffers from mild urinary urgency. Pltf.’s expert hematologist/oncologist, testified that all of the treating physicians should have recognized the spinal cord compression. He also testified that untreated Hodgkin’s disease causes spinal cord compression and that approximately 10-20% of Hodgkin’s disease patients develop additional complications such as lymphomas of the spine. He testified that if left untreated, a lymphoma such as Pltf.’s could cause neurological deficits and/or spinal cord compression. Pltf.’s economist projected Pltf.’s lost earnings at $400,000. Although Pltf. was unemployed at the time of the onset of the disease, he was previously a handyman. Pltf.’s rehabilitative counselor testified that Pltf. would not be able to work in the future. Pltf.’s chiropractic expert testified that Dr. Frank should have recognized spinal cord compression after performing routine chiropractic tests. Deft. hospital argued that although Pltf. had been seen in the emergency room, the emergency room doctor’s position is not as a treating physician, but as a diagnostician; that the symptoms with which Pltf. presented were not abnormal and were able to be treated by a clinician. Deft. hospital also contended that it had no duty to notify Pltf. of the radiological findings, but Pltf. contended that the hospital rules, which were in evidence, indicated that he should have been notified.

Pltf. Experts: Dr. Fred Rosner, internist and hematologist/oncologist, Jamaica; Dr. Peter Lichtenfeld, neurologist, Great Neck; Dr. Les Seplaki, economist, New Jersey; Dr. Arnold Goldschmidt, chiropractor; Dr. David Stein, certified rehabilitative counselor.

Deft. Experts: Dr. Jonas Goldstone, internist and hematologist/oncologist, Manhattan; Dr. Morris Ehrenreich, rehabilitative medicine, Manhattan; Dr. Diane Sixsmith, internist and emergency room medicine, Manhattan.

BACK TO TOP



Medical Malpractice – Missed Diagnoses of Hodgkins Disease
XVIlI/3-6 MEDICAL MALPRACTICE DIAGNOSIS OF HODGKIN S DISEASE INFANT WITH HISTORY OF HILA TERAL AXILLARY L YMPHADENOP A THY INFERTILITY

Adam R. v. Melvin Koplow, MoDo 16530/96 10-day trial Verdict 5/30/00 Kings Supreme

Judge: M. Randolph Jackson

Verdict: $2,940,000 (6/0). Breakdown: $800,000 for past pain and suffering; $1,117,000 for future pain and suffering; $110, 000 for past medical expenses; $63,000 for future medical expenses; $ 850,000 for future lost earnings. Note: A high/low agreement of $650, 000/$150,000 was reached prior to the verdict. Jury: 4 male, 2 female.

Pltf. Atty: Daniel P. Buttafuoco ofDaniel P. Buttafuoco & Associates, Woodbury

Deft. Atty: Patrick J. Brennan ofWilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman & Dicker, Manhattan

Facts: The infant Pltf. (age 11 in 1992) treated with Deft. at his Brooklyn office from 1984 to 1992. Pltf. had a history of bilateral axillary lymphadenopathy, and at age 3 underwent a biopsy on his right side. The biopsy was negative for lymphoma, and Pltf. was diagnosed with possible toxoplasmosis. Both Pltf. and his mother claimed that the right side swelling never resolved, and that it was present every time he was at Deft. s office. On 8/27/92, Pltf., accompanied by his mother, presented to Deft. s office without the prior symptoms, but with complaints of swelling under the left armpit . Upon palpation, Deft. discovered an unexplained lateral left chest tenderness.

Deft. ordered a chest X-ray to determine the cause of the left- side tenderness, and contacted the pediatrician who ‘performed the 1983 biopsy. The X-ray was negative, and there was no follow-up by either Deft. or Pltf. s mother. It was undisputed that in March 1994, Pltf. returned to Deft. with a mass under his left armpit. He was sent to Maimonides Medical Center for a biopsy, which was positive for Stage IlI-A Hodgkin s disease.

Pltf. underwent ABVD (Adriamycin, bleomycin, vinblastine, and dacarbazine) chemotherapy, which failed. He

was referred to Sloan- Kettering for more a more aggressive treatment, ICE (ifosfamide, carboplatin, and etoposide) chemotherapy, and a bone marrow transplant with stem cell implantation. At the time of trial, Pltf. was completely cured and had been cancer-free for 6 years. Pltf. claimed that he should have been diagnosed on 8/27/92, when the disease

would have been at Stage I, and that an earlier diagnosis would have prevented the need for more aggressive treatment. Pltf. also claimed that he was left sterile as a result of the ICE treatments.

Deft. contended that there was no right-side swelling at any time that he saw Pltf. His records made no reference to axillary swelling, nodes, or masses. Deft. denied any negligence, and claimed that Pltf. s signs and symptoms on 8/27/92 were insufficient to do a work-up for anything more than a soft-tissue injury. Deft. contended that Pltf. did not have Hodgkin s disease on that date, and argued that ifhe had, he would not have been alive in March 1994. Deft. contended that Pltf. s infertility was the result of the initial ABVD treatment, and claimed that Pltf. s sperm had been banked prior to the chemotherapy being instituted. Deft. contended that Pltf. would have required the more aggressive treatment whether he was diagnosed earlier or not, because certain cancers do not respond to ABVD, regardless of the stage at which they are diagnosed. Demonstrative evidence: enlargements ofDeft.’s office and hospital records. Offer: $250,000; demand: $450,000. Jury deliberation: 3 hours. Carrier: FOJP .

Pltf. Experts: Stuart Sachnin, Ph.D., vocational rehabilitation and economist at Vocational Economics, Inc., Manhattan; Dr. Harvey Simon, pediatrician, Great Neck; Dr. Robert Glassman, oncologist, Manhattan.

Deft. Experts: Dr. David Simeon, pediatrician, Manhattan; Dr. Mark Weinblatt, pediatric oncologist, North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset.

BACK TO TOP



Surgical errors cause permanent foot damage.

Settlement: $1.2 million, after jury selection, but prior to scheduled start of opening statements.

Lucy A. v. New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation

June 23

Kings Supreme

Judge: Joseph S. Levine

ATTORNEYS:

Daniel P. Buttafuoco of Daniel P, Buttafuoco & Associates, Woodbury for plaintiff;

Alex Johnson of McAloon & Friedman, New York for defense.

Facts and Allegations: In November 2001. Lucy A., 40, a human-resources clerk and an insulin dependent diabetic with a history of vascular disease, was diagnosed with an occlusion of the superficial femoral artery in her left leg and gangrene of her left big toe. On Nov. 9, she presented to Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center, in Brooklyn, for a scheduled femoral popliteal bypass. The surgery was performed by Dr. Myrtle Denville.

After the procedure, Ms. A. experienced footdrop, a condition marked by plantar flexion, which is an extension of the foot to the point at which its forepart is depressed in relation to the ankle. Ms. A. commenced a medical malpractice suit against the hospital’s owner and operator, the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation. She alleged that Dr. Denville did not properly perform the femoral popliteal bypass. Ms. A. claimed that Dr. Denville severed or damaged her left peroneal nerve and that the damage resulted in the muscle dysfunction that caused her footdrop.

Defense counsel contended that Ms. A.’s left peroneal nerve was not damaged during Dr. Denville’s surgery. He argued that her footdrop was causally related to her diabetes and other health related conditions, such as peripheral neuropathy and lupus. Defense counsel did not respond to VerdictSearch’s fax or phone calls.

Ms. A. claimed that her footdrop is a permanent dlsability that prevents resumption of work. The defense contended Ms. A.’s footdrop will not necessitate further work absences or lost wages.

BACK TO TOP