Successful Past Verdicts for Medical/Dental Malpractice in New York
Dental/Surgical Malpractice – Verdict $2,250,000.00
An infant plaintiff was unable to breathe following post-surgical extubation. An emergency tracheotomy was performed. Approximately ten days later, a doctor, using a flashlight, looked into plaintiff’s mouth and noticed that a gauze pack that the anesthesiologist negligently failed to remove during the surgery was stuck in the infant’s throat. When the nurse pulled the gauze pack out of plaintiff’s throat, the child was able to breathe normally.
Experts: Oral surgeon, Anesthesiologist.
Medical Malpractice – Wrongful Death – $1,000,000.00 Settlement
The decedent was a 33-year old woman who died from undiagnosed pulmonary emboli secondary to deep vein thrombosis. She had presented to her general physician complaining of symptoms including extreme shortness of breath and fatigue upon exertion, even as limited as walking across a room, with pain in one calf, symptoms consistent with pulmonary emboli and deep vein thrombosis. The decedent also had several known risk factors for these morbidities, including being slightly overweight and taking Yasmin, a birth control pill. Abnormalities revealed by an electrocardiogram and blood work were also consistent with pulmonary emboli. Notwithstanding the decedent’s symptoms, risk factors and abnormal test results, the doctor’s diagnosis was dizziness and giddiness. One week later, the woman died. Of note, the decedent was a law review editor who had sat for the bar examination just a few weeks before going to her doctor. After her death, her widower received notification from the State Bar Examiners that she had passed the bar. We were prepared to prove that the decedent’s life would have been saved had her condition been timely diagnosed and treated. The case settled during jury selection.
Experts: Pathologist, Internist, Economist
Medical Malpractice – Settlement $925,000.00
Plaintiff was injured when he slipped and fell down a flight of stairs while on the job. He spoke with the personal injury attorneys at our Manhattan office after other attorneys had advised him that he had no lawsuit to pursue and that his only recourse was to claim Worker’s Compensation benefits. We realized that he had a meritorious lawsuit against the hospital and doctor for failing to diagnose that, due to the fall, he had sustained a herniated disc in his neck. The delay in diagnosis had worsened his condition and required emergency surgery. He was left with permanent spinal cord damage. Our client was able to recover both damages in the lawsuit and Worker’s Compensation benefits. An interesting note in this case is that the investigator hired by the defendant’s insurance company to secretly record surveillance videotape of our client tried to trick our client by calling him and falsely telling him that he had won free Yankee World Series tickets and that he had to pick-up at Yankee Stadium immediately. It was only later, when we were given the videotape and showed it to our client, that he was able to figure out why, when he had arrived at Yankee Stadium on that day, there were no tickets for him, and nobody there knew what free tickets he was talking about.
Experts: Vocational economist, Orthopedist, Neurologist.
Wrongful Death/Medical Malpractice – Nursing Home Neglect– Bed Sores-Violations of the Public Health Law – Settlement During Trial $850,000.00
We represented a family whose husband/father was transferred to a nursing home for rehabilitation following open heart surgery. While still in the hospital before being transferred he started to develop some bed sores. At the nursing home the bed sores got worse to the point where a surgeon had to be called in. The surgeon performed a sharp debridement (used a scalpel) which necessarily resulted in some bleeding. However, the patient was being given Coumadin to thin his blood due to his cardiac condition and neither the nursing home nor the surgeon took any precautions to deal with the bleeding. Worse still, it was only after the patient was hemorrhaging and his bed sheets had to be changed 3 times in one night that the Coumadin was stopped and the surgeon was called back in. Again, the surgeon came in, did his procedure, and left the nursing home without dealing with the bleeding that had gone on. The critically-anemic patient had to be rushed to an emergency room only after being found bleeding three separate times during one night where he was given no treatment until he went into cardiac arrest about 1 hour later. Belated efforts to resuscitate him failed.
Experts: Pathologist, Geriatrician/Wound Care Specialist, Emergency Medicine Physician
Medical Malpractice/Wrongful Death – Settlement $850,000.00
Action for wrongful death and conscious pain and suffering of 30-year-old woman, married with one child. Decedent’s medical history included end stage renal failure and seizures. The decedent presented at the defendant hospital with severe shortness of breath and other signs and symptoms of acidosis. Blood analysis revealed an extremely low level of anti-seizure medication. No precautions were taken to guard against falls, and decedent was left unattended and unrestrained on a stretcher, at which time she suffered a seizure and fell, striking her head on the floor. Even after she fell, the defendants (hospital and physicians) did not diagnose her worsening condition of fluid overload, with fluid accumulating in her lungs. She went into respiratory arrest and cardiac arrest, and passed away several weeks later.
Experts: Economist, Pathologist.
Medical Malpractice – Severed Nerve During Surgery – $825,000.00 Settlement
We got this case on the eve of the expiration of the statute of limitations because the client’s previous lawyer was unable to locate an expert. Our client, age 52, underwent surgery for release of ulnar nerve entrapment. Immediately following the surgery she had complete numbness along the distribution of the nerve. The surgeon’s partner performed surgery to try to correct the problem. In his operative report, the second surgeon noted that he observed the free ends of the ulnar nerve, where it had apparently been severed during the first surgery. We were able to locate an expert who opined that although an injury to the nerve could be an unavoidable occurrence during the surgery, the total severing of the nerve was unacceptable.
Expert: Orthopedic Surgeon
Medical Malpractice – Injury During Implantation of Defibrillator – Settlement $800,000.00
In this case, our office represented a woman who had a defibrillator implanted by prominent interventional cardiologists. Immediately after the procedure, our client experienced shortness of breath and chest pain. The doctors failed to diagnose that in inserting the defibrillator, the atrial lead had perforated the pericardium and right atrium. Instead, our client was incorrectly diagnosed with an inflammatory process. As such, our client was unnecessarily treated with steroids over a period of time, and she underwent numerous thorancentesis procedures due to multiple, recurrent pleural effusions. Eventually our client went to a hospital in New York City where a correct diagnosis was made. Unfortunately, as a result of the unnecessary steroid treatment, our client developed avascular necrosis and had to have surgery for a hip replacement.
Medical Malpractice – Injury to Mother During Childbirth – Settlement $600,000.00
Settlement during trial on behalf of a 30 year-old woman who sustained a tear of her uterus and uterine artery during the birth of her first child. Our client underwent numerous surgical procedures to control post-partum hemorrhage, but ultimately had to undergo a hysterectomy. Levine & Slavit retained an obstetrician/gynecologist to review the hospital record. In the expert’s opinion, the injury occurred because the doctor who was delivering the baby, in using a vacuum to assist in the delivery, used the vacuum in an improper way causing the injuries. Through careful questioning of the defendant doctor at his deposition, the doctor essentially confirmed that he had used the vacuum in the manner that the expert said was improper. At trial, the defendant doctor, apparently realizing that his answers at the deposition were not correct, attempted to explain that his deposition testimony were misunderstood. The case settled during the defendant doctor’s testimony at trial. Of note is that before the client came to our office, a prominent New York City law firm had rejected this case.
Medical Malpractice – Failure to Timely Diagnose Appendicitis – Settlement $450,000.00
In this case, our client went to an emergency room of a hospital complaining of severe abdominal pain and vomiting. The triage nurse noted a history of abdominal pain and vomiting lasting for approximately 20 hours. The emergency room doctor, however, wrote that our client had been experiencing symptoms for about 4 hours. After giving our client intravenous fluids and observing her for a few hours, the doctor discharged our client and told her it was safe for her to fly as she and her family had planned. By the time our client arrived at her destination, her appendix had burst. She initially underwent surgery and treatment at a local hospital, but then had to be airlifted to a major city hospital due to severe peritonitis and other life-threatening conditions. As a result of the delay, our client suffers from internal scarring that interferes with her bladder function. At the deposition that our office took of the emergency room physician, he in essence confirmed that had he correctly realized that our client had been experiencing her severe symptoms for 20 rather than for 4 hours, he would not have discharged her without giving her much stronger discharge instructions than he gave her to return to the hospital if her symptoms persisted.
Dental Malpractice – Lack of Informed Consent – Settlement $95,000.00
Our client went to a new dentist whose improper preparation and insertion of a bridge, and improper root canal therapy, led to further teeth decay. The dentist then informed our client, who was in her 50’s, that it was necessary that all of her remaining teeth be extracted and she wear full upper and lower dentures for the rest her life. The defendant dentist admitted at his deposition that he did not give our client any alternatives to the dentures. He also admitted that our client had informed him when she first saw him that her mother had worn dentures, and she had hoped to avoid wearing dentures herself. We retained an expert who opined that the defendant dentist’s root canal therapy was improperly performed, that there were preferable alternatives to dentures, such as implants, and that the defendant, who was a general dentist, should have referred our client to specialists.
* Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.