How do juries decide medical malpractice cases? What factors come into play? What role does health literacy play? These questions were recently addressed in an article in DRI’s July issue of its monthly magazine, For The Defense. One of our partners, Tom Leverage, collaborated with Sue Seif of Seif and Associates to produce this article.
Sue Seif is the founder of Seif and Associates, a company that specializes in medical graphics for the defense bar. Together with Tom Leverage, they joined forces bringing their unique perspectives and experiences to these questions. Sue drew upon her knowledge and research in the social sciences especially in the area of the communication of complex concepts. (more…)Read More
Three related actions were consolidated for joint trial relating to a 2002 house hire that damaged three attached townhouses in Bronxville, N.Y. The owners of Unit 1 hired a roofing company on behalf of himself and Unit 2 to perform work on a shared roof. During the course of the work, a fire started when an open flame being used to solder copper gutters ignited a wood fascia board. The fire caused damage to Units 1 and 2 and spread to attached Unit 3, owned by a neighbor. The fire was extinguished by the Fire Department. It was alleged that conduct by one of the fire commissioners caused a delay in the method of fighting the fire, which increased the damage caused to Unit 3. The fire commissioner was not a named defendant. After insurance claims were paid, actions were brought by and on behalf of Unit 3, against, among others, the Fire District. (more…)Read More
Recently, Tom Leverage and Ingrid Rodriguez met with nursing supervisors at Jamaica Hospital Nursing Home to emphasize the importance of accurate and complete documentation. In the holiday spirit, a few of the supervisors were asked to complete diagrams of Christmas trees by “connecting the dots” that gave the contours of the tree. The diagrams contained varying degrees of information to follow and one diagram had missing dots. The most beautiful tree was created from the diagram that contained the most initial information. The drawing that was completed from the diagram with missing dots was agreed by all to be a decidedly ugly tree. (more…)Read More
Following a trial in Supreme Court, Suffolk County, extending from October 1st to October 27th 2009, a jury of six unanimously found that a patient was given proper verbal and written instructions at the time of discharge from the hospital. The patient had been treated for atrial fibrillation, and discharged with a prescription for Coumadin. He claimed that he was never told to see his doctor or get his blood tested while on Coumadin. Five weeks after discharge, he suffered an intracranial hemorrhage. He was found to have an INR well above the desired therapeutic range. He claimed to have lost his memory of the hospitalization as a result of the hemorrhage. His wife testified that the discharge nurse gave no verbal instructions, and merely requested his signature on the written instructions. She testified that the transport aide told them to leave the clipboard with the instructions in the room. (more…)Read More
The plaintiff was hospitalized with an intractable nosebleed, treated with balloons and packing and DDAVP, a short acting coagulant. He suffered a myocardial infarction in the hospital, which he claimed was made worse because he laid on the floor in his room for two hours, before he was found by a nurse. The nurse, however, recalled the patient and testified that she responded immediately. The jury found the nurse’s testimony credible and returned a verdict in the hospital’s favor. The co-defendant doctor, represented by others, was also found not negligent in connection with his use of DDAVP. The case was tried by James M. Furey, Jr.Read More
The Appellate Division, Second Department, affirmed the decision of Supreme Court Justice Karen V. Murphy, dismissing all claims against the defendant, as well as other defendants in the case. The doctor became the attending physician for the decedent when she was brought to the hospital after an apparent drug overdose. Over the course of an admission of several days, the doctor cleared her for medical discharge, and secured a psychiatric consult. The psychiatrist advised that the decedent was ready to be discharged from a psychiatric standpoint.
Two days after discharge, the decedent was found dead in her bathtub. The cause of death was not determined by the Medical Examiner. Plaintiff claimed that she committed suicide, and that the suicide would not have occurred if she had not been discharged prematurely. (more…)Read More
The plaintiff gave birth to a nine pound baby after a lengthy second stage of labor. When the effects of epidural wore off, she had difficulty moving her legs. She was diagnosed with femoral neuropathy and a separated pubic symphysis. She claimed that the defendant excessively hyperflexed, hyperabducted and externally rotated her legs during delivery. The defendant denied using excessive force, and testified that the injury was a known complication from delivery of a large baby with a long second stage of labor. The jury returned a verdict for the defendant. The case was tried by James M. Furey, Jr.Read More
James M. Furey, Jr. recently obtained a defense verdict in Supreme Court, Suffolk County, in the matter of McLaughlin v. Royek. The defendant, a perinatologist at SUNY Stonybrook, took over care of the plaintiff’s mother’s pregnancy at twenty four and one half weeks, and delivered the infant plaintiff after about twelve hours. The plaintiff claimed that the defendant should have delivered the infant sooner, and that the infant was brain damaged as a result. The jury agreed that the defendant adhered to accepted medical practice, in delaying the delivery in an effort to promote fetal lung maturity before birth.Read More
Mr. Leverage successfully obtained a defense verdict in Antaki v. Lerman, et al. Plaintiff alleged that defendants failed to diagnose C. Difficile colitis. The matter was tried before Judge F. Dana Winslow in Nassau Supreme Court.
During trial an interesting point of law was raised. Plaintiff, an adult male, resided with his parents, the father was a doctor. During the alleged period of malpractice, the father was caring for his son and listened to his son’s stomach with a stethoscope. (more…)Read More
One of our partners, Tom Leverage, was successful in obtaining a defense verdict recently in a medical malpractice case venued in New York Supreme Court. The case was tried before Justice Alice Schlesinger.
The case involved claims against a psychiatrist alleging an inappropriate dosing of Wellbutrin in 1997 to treat a 6 ½ year girl who had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. After several unsuccessful attempts to control her behavior at lower dosages, the psychiatrist increased the dose to 300 mg per day (150 mg. twice a day). This dose level apparently resulted in improvements. Unfortunately, after 5 ½ weeks at that dose, the girl suffered a seizure, a known adverse reaction. (more…)Read More