Docs rejected estate's claim that surgery was too late
|Delayed Diagnosis, Medical Malpractice - Delayed Treatment, Medical Malpractice - Lost Chance of Recovery, Wrongful Death - Survival Damages|
|James Mirra, Indiv. & as Administrator of the Estate of Lisa Mirra v. David G. Heisig M.D.; Associated Gastroenterologists of Central New York, PC; Barbara L. Clayton MD; Internist Associates of Central New York, PC; David S. Kaplan, MD; Stephen L. Barker, MD and Crouse Hospital, No. 7309/08|
|Onondaga Supreme, NY|
|Brian F. DeJoseph
- Charles L. Falgiatano; DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Law Firm; Syracuse, NY, for Estate of Lisa Mirra, James Mirra
- Daniel McGowan Ph.D.; Economics; Geneva, NY called by: Charles Falgiatano
- Maxwell Chait M.D.; Gastroenterology; Hartsdale, NY called by: Charles Falgiatano
- Marc Sher M.D.; Colon & Rectal Surgery; New Hyde Park, NY called by: Charles Falgiatano
- Charles Abrams M.D.; Hematology; Philadelphia, PA called by: Charles Falgiatano
- Therese Wiley Dancks; Gale & Dancks; Fayetteville, NY, for David S. Kaplan
- Kevin T. Hunt; Sugarman Law Firm; Syracuse, NY, for David G. Heisig
- Charles E. Patton; Martin, Ganotis, Brown, Mould & Currie, P.C.; DeWitt, NY, for Stephen L. Barker
- None reported; null, null, for Associated Gastroenterologists of Central New York P.C., Barbara L. Clayton, Crouse Hospital, Internist Associates of Central New York P.C.
- Kevin Herlihy M.D.; Gastroenterology; Glens Falls, NY called by: Therese Dancks
- Robert Kornfield M.D.; Gastroenterology; Rochester, NY called by: Kevin Hunt
- Edward Hannan M.D.; General Surgery; Troy, NY called by: Charles Patton
- Medical Liability Mutual Insurance Co. for Barker, Heisig and Kaplan
In 2005, plaintiff's decedent Lisa Mirra, a salesperson in her mid-20s, presented to a gastroenterologist, Dr. David Heisig. Heisig determined that Mirra was suffering ulcerative colitis, and he provided about two years of treatment.
On June 19, 2007, Mirra presented to Crouse Hospital, in Syracuse. She reported that she was suffering pain that stemmed from her abdomen. Mirra was admitted to the hospital, and she was evaluated by a colorectal surgeon, Dr. Stephen Barker, and a gastroenterologist, Dr. David Kaplan. The doctors determined that surgery was not necessary, but Mirra was not discharged.
During the ensuing days, Mirra exhibited symptoms that suggested toxic megacolon, which is a potentially fatal widening of the colon. Doctors eventually determined that she was suffering that condition. On June 26, 2007, she underwent a colectomy: a resection of her colon. After the operation, Mirra developed fatal thrombi. She died June 29, 2007.
Mirra's widower, James Mirra, acting individually and as the administrator of his wife's estate, sued his wife's primary doctor, Barbara Clayton; Clayton's practice, Internist Associates of Central New York P.C.; Barker; Heisig; Heisig's practice, Associated Gastroenterologists of Central New York P.C.; Kaplan; and Crouse Hospital. The plaintiffs alleged that Barker, Heisig and Kaplan failed to properly diagnose Ms. Mirra's condition, that Barker, Clayton, Heisig and Kaplan failed to properly treat Mirra, that the failures constituted malpractice; that Internist Associates of Central New York was vicariously liable for Clayton's actions; and that Associated Gastroenterologists of Central New York was vicariously liable for Heisig's actions.
Plaintiffs' counsel ultimately discontinued the claims against Clayton, Internist Associates of Central New York, Crouse Hospital and Associated Gastroenterologists of Central New York. The matter proceeded to a trial against Barker, Heisig and Kaplan.
The plaintiffs' expert hematologist opined that Mirra's death was a result of disseminated intravascular coagulation that stemmed from an infection. He contended that the infection resulted from improper treatment of her colitis, and he claimed that proper and timely treatment would have prevented the development of disseminated intravascular coagulation.
The plaintiffs' expert colorectal surgeon and expert gastroenterologist agreed that surgery should have been performed sooner, and they suggested that surgery should have been considered at the outset of Mirra's hospitalization.
Barker's expert surgeon and Kaplan's expert gastroenterologist opined that Barker and Kaplan appropriately elected to evaluate Mirra's condition through the course of several days, until her condition changed.
Heisig's expert gastroenterologist contended that Mirra had previously indicated that she was afraid of surgery, and, as such, the expert contended that Mirra would not have undergone surgery had it been suggested sooner. The expert also opined that Mirra was not compliant with conservative treatment that Heisig had rendered before her hospitalization.
Mirra suffered an infection that led to toxic megacolon. She eventually developed fatal thrombi. Mirra, 28, died June 29, 2007. She was survived by her husband.
Mirra's family claimed that she suffered a great degree of pain during her 10-day-long hospitalization, which included the performance of a colectomy.
Mirra's estate sought recovery of wrongful-death damages that included a total of about $1.6 million for the estate's lost earnings and household services and unspecified damages for Mirra's pain and suffering. Mirra's widower presented a derivative claim.
The jury rendered a defense verdict.
This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiffs' counsel and Barker's counsel. Heisig's counsel reviewed a draft of the report, but he did not provide feedback; Kaplan's counsel did not respond to the reporter's phone calls; and the remaining defendants' counsel was not asked to contribute.