Perhaps one of the most complex medical malpractice cases to come out of New York City is that of 34-year-old cable splicer, Thomas Dockery.
In 2002, Thomas suffered a grand mal seizure in his sleep and was rushed to Peninsula Hospital in Far Rockaway, New York. His CT scan was interpreted as normal; however, an MRI interpreted two days later showed a lesion known as a glioma, which is a central nervous system tumor. Thomas was referred to Dr. Chris Overby of Peninsula Hospital, a neurosurgeon who agreed that he had a glioma. A second opinion was obtained from Dr. Philip Gutin of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center Hospital in Manhattan, who also agreed that Thomas had a glioma and scheduled a surgery for 13 days later.
Unfortunately, a pre-surgical MRI the day before his surgery revealed that Thomas had inconsistent massive edema of the brain. He underwent a craniotomy the following day, and pus in the lesion area was removed – instead of a glioma, Thomas had a non-tumorous abscess that had grown rapidly during the days before his surgery. Worse, the edema caused by the abscess resulted in herniation of the brain which meant that Thomas had to undergo several brain surgeries, a five-week hospital stay, and extensive rehabilitation. He was left with severe aphasia and memory loss.
Thomas and his wife filed a medical malpractice lawsuit, stating that the doctors failed to diagnose his condition correctly and timeously, which resulted in permanent damage that could have been avoided. The complexity of the trial can be seen via the proceedings:
- Initially, the judge dismissed the claims against Peninsula Hospital and its doctors
- Later, a Queens County jury returned a verdict stating that there was medical malpractice by Dr. Overby and Dr. Gutin at both of their hospitals and Thomas and his wife were awarded $104,450,000 in non-economic damages
- However, Dr. Gutin and Memorial Sloan Kettering had settled for $4,400,00 before the trial, and just after the verdict, the trial judge dismissed the claims against Dr, Overby
- The judge’s decision resulted in Thomas and his wife filing an appeal
- Ultimately, the appellate court upheld the dismissal regarding Peninsula Hospital and its doctors but reinstated some liability against Dr. Overby. Additionally, they found that Dr. Gutin and Memorial Sloan Kettering were 90% at fault and ruled that non-economic damages should be reduced to $9,300,00. Additionally, $470,000,00 in economic damages were awarded
As can be seen in the case of Thomas Dockery, medical malpractice law is very complicated and can have several twists and turns, which you don’t always anticipate. This is why it is important to contact an NYC medical malpractice lawyer if you live in NYC, have been a victim of medical malpractice, and wish to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.
You will have the best possible chance of winning your lawsuit and receiving compensation if you contact an NYC medical malpractice attorney, as they are familiar with the medical malpractice laws and statute of limitations that pertain to NYC.
If you think that you have experienced a failure to diagnose, please contact the medical malpractice lawyers of Rosenburg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff LLP in NYC.
You can speak to one of our medical malpractice attorneys by calling 1-866-516-5887 for a free, confidential consultation.