Three doctors overlooked myocardial infarction, suit alleged
|Failure to Detect, Medical Malpractice - Cardiac Care|
|Debora L. Sohl aka Debora L. Herrmann v. Bassett Healthcare Network, A.O. Fox Memorial Hospital, James L. Rice, M.D.; Blaine R. Jones, M.D., and Maciej Nowakowski, No. 1700029/11|
|Otsego Supreme, NY|
|Michael V. Coccoma
- Charlene S. Fallon; Linnan & Fallon, LLP; Albany, NY, for Debora L. Sohl
- James D. Linnan; Linnan & Fallon, LLP; Albany, NY, for Debora L. Sohl
- Malissa Wood; Cardiology; Boston, MA called by: Charlene Fallon, James Linnan
- James Lambrinos Ph.D.; Economics; Clifton Park, NY called by: Charlene Fallon, James Linnan
- David F. McCarthy; Levene Gouldin & Thompson, LLP; Binghamton, NY, for A.O. Fox Memorial Hospital, James L. Rice
- Christine M. Napierski; Napierski, VanDenburgh, Napierski & O'Connor, L.L.P.; Albany, NY, for Bassett Healthcare Network, Blaine R. Jones, Maciej Nowakowski
- Peter Sosnow M.D.; Emergency Medicine; Albany, NY called by: David McCarthy
- Roland Phillips; Cardiology; Saratoga Springs, NY called by: David McCarthy
- Medical Liability Mutual Insurance Co. for A.O. Fox Memorial Hospital
During the morning of Jan. 26, 2009, plaintiff Debora Sohl, 47, an office's manager, presented to A.O. Fox Memorial Hospital, in Oneonta. She reported that she was suffering an extremely painful condition of her chest. She also reported nausea. Sohl was examined by Dr. James Rice. Rice prescribed two painkillers: hydromorphone and morphine. He also prescribed medication that was intended to relieve Sohl's nausea. After several hours had passed, Sohl underwent an electrocardiography. Rice determined that further observation was necessary.
Sohl claimed that her pain worsened. After three hours had passed, she underwent another electrocardiography. Rice opined that the test's results were reassuring, but Sohl was admitted to the hospital. Blood was drawn and tested, and Sohl was monitored by Dr. Blaine Jones.
During the evening of Jan. 26, Jones received the results of the test of Sohl's blood. The results revealed an abnormally great level of troponin, which proliferates when a myocardial infarction occurs. Dr. Maciej Nowakowski prescribed medication, and he requested an evaluation by a cardiologist.
During the ensuing morning, Sohl's family summoned an independent cardiologist. The cardiologist examined Sohl, reviewed the results of the electrocardiographies that Sohl had undergone and concluded that Sohl required immediate care. Sohl was transferred to another hospital, where doctors opined that she was suffering a myocardial infarction. Treatment was rendered, but Sohl suffers extensive damage of her heart.
Sohl sued Jones, Nowakowski, Rice, A.O. Fox Memorial Hospital and the hospital's operator, Bassett Healthcare Network. Sohl alleged that Jones, Nowakowski and Rice failed to detect her myocardial infarction, that the failures constituted malpractice, and that the remaining defendants were vicariously liable for the doctors' actions.
Sohl's counsel subsequently discovered that the underlying incident predated Bassett Healthcare Network's oversight of A.O. Fox Memorial Hospital. As such, they discontinued the claim against Bassett Healthcare Network. They also discontinued the claims against Jones, Nowakowski and Rice. The matter proceeded to a trial against the hospital.
Sohl's counsel claimed that Sohl's myocardial infarction was occurring when she arrived at A.O. Fox Memorial Hospital. They contended that the electrocardiographies revealed distress and poor functioning of Sohl's heart, but that the tests' results were not properly interpreted.
Sohl's counsel also claimed that the hospital's staff did not promptly process the blood that had been drawn from Sohl. They contended that four hours elapsed before the analysis was completed. They further claimed that the analysis's results warranted an immediate evaluation by a cardiologist, but that Nowakowski did not request an immediate evaluation. They noted that Nowakowski specified that the cardiologist's evaluation would be performed after the cardiologist had completed the ensuing morning's examinations.
Defense counsel contended that a myocardial infarction's symptoms include pain that radiates to an arm, the face and/or the jaw, but that Sohl did not report such symptoms. He claimed that Sohl suffered an insignificant myocardial infarction that was properly treated.
Sohl claimed that she sustained a prolonged myocardial infarction. She was transported to UHS Wilson Medical Center, in Johnson City. She underwent catheterization of her heart, and doctors opined that she was suffering near-total occlusion of her heart's left anterior descending artery. A stent was placed in the artery. During the catheterization, Sohl suffered dissection of her coronary artery. The dissection disrupted the flow of blood, and it necessitated the immediate performance of open surgery that included the application of two arterial grafts that bypassed the occluded portion of her left anterior descending coronary artery. Her hospitalization lasted 13 days, and she subsequently underwent extensive rehabilitation.
Sohl claimed that her myocardial infarction caused permanent damage that has halved her heart's ability. She contended that she must undergo extensive treatment that will include the implantation of a defibrillator, the implantation of a pump and the replacement of her heart. Sohl's counsel claimed that Sohl's myocardial infarction should have been diagnosed during its initial stages. They contended that 26 hours passed before proper treatment was rendered, and they claimed that prompt treatment would have prevented the extensive residual damage that Sohl sustained.
Sohl further claimed that she cannot perform tasks that require more than a minimal amount of stamina. She contended that she previously enjoyed training horses, but that she cannot resume that activity. She claimed that she cannot work, that she cannot exercise and that she is dependent upon aides.
Sohl sought recovery of future medical expenses, past and future lost earnings, and damages for past and future pain and suffering.
Defense counsel contended that Sohl suffered an insignificant myocardial infarction, that her limitations are a result of the dissection that occurred during her catheterization and that she does not require additional treatment. However, Sohl's counsel noted that the catheterization was videotaped, and they claimed that the videotape revealed that extensive necrosis had occurred prior to the catheterization.
The jury found that the hospital's staff departed from an accepted standard of care. It determined that Sohl's damages totaled $144,690,039.
Debora L. Sohl
$50,016,765 Personal Injury: Future Medical Cost
$118,000 Personal Injury: Past Lost Earnings Capability
$229,406 Personal Injury: FutureLostEarningsCapability
$2,000,000 Personal Injury: Past Pain And Suffering
$16,000,000 Personal Injury: Future Pain And Suffering
$66,437 Personal Injury: cost of defibrillator
$21,295 Personal Injury: maintenance of defibrillator
$5,435,773 Personal Injury: cost of pump
$13,309,112 Personal Injury: maintenance of pump
$6,168,996 Personal Injury: cost of replacement of heart
$51,324,255 Personal Injury: post-replacement maintenance of heart
This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiff's counsel. Defense counsel did not respond to the reporter's phone calls.