Surgeon rejected blame for patient's death
|Surgical Error, Medical Malpractice - Delayed Diagnosis, Medical Malpractice - Post-Operative Care, Wrongful Death - Survival Damages|
|Adrienne Carr, as Administratrix of the Estate of Joseph L. Carr, Adrienne Carr, Indiv v. Daniel Burson, M.D. and Nyack Hospital, No. 5309/09|
|Rockland Supreme, NY|
|Victor J. Alfieri
- Brigitte M. Gulliver; Silbowitz Garafola Silbowitz Schatz & Frederick, L.L.P.; New York, NY, for Adrienne Carr, Estate of Joseph L. Carr
- Mark McAndrew; Voute, Lohrfink, Magro & McAndrew LLP; White Plains, New York, for Daniel Berson
- Thomas Price; Cardiology; Mount Vernon, NY called by: Mark McAndrew
- Jerald Wishner M.D.; Colon & Rectal Surgery; New York, NY called by: Mark McAndrew
- Physicians' Reciprocal Insurers for Berson
On July 25, 2007, plaintiff's decedent Joseph Carr, 67, a retiree, underwent laparoscopic surgery that involved the resection of a portion of a cancerous bowel. The procedure was performed by Dr. Daniel Berson, at Nyack Hospital, in Nyack. The surgery included the creation of an anastomosis, which involved the joining of the bowel areas that surrounded the resected area.
Carr's anastomosis ruptured after the surgery had been completed. He developed a resultant leak of gastrointestinal matter. The leak caused peritonitis and sepsis.
Carr died on Aug. 1, 2007. His daughter, Adrienne Carr, claimed that his death was a result of his postsurgical sepsis.
Adrienne Carr, acting individually and as the administrator of her husband's estate, sued Berson and Nyack Hospital. The plaintiffs alleged that Berson failed to properly perform the surgery, that he failed to timely diagnose the resultant rupture of the anastomosis, that his failures constituted malpractice and that Nyack Hospital was vicariously liable for his actions.
Plaintiffs' counsel ultimately discontinued the claims against Nyack Hospital. The matter proceeded to a trial against Berson.
The plaintiffs' expert pathologist opined that Berson's laparoscopic procedure did not allow proper performance of the resection and the anastomosis. She claimed that Berson should have performed open surgery.
The plaintiffs' expert also opined that Berson did not timely diagnose the rupture of Joseph Carr's anastomosis. He contended that Carr immediately developed symptoms that included a fever, distention of his abdomen, impairment of his respiration and an increase of the blood's leukocytes, and he claimed that the symptoms should have suggested that a rupture had occurred. He opined that prompt treatment could have averted the rupture's fatal effects.
Berson noted that his laparoscopic procedure was hand-assisted, and he contended that the procedure was an effective means of performing the resection and the anastomosis. He claimed that he tested the anastomosis before concluding the surgery.
Berson also contended that Carr's immediate post-surgical symptoms did not suggest that the anastomosis failed. He claimed that several days passed before a problem became evident, and he contended that he promptly responded. The defense's expert colorectal surgeon opined that Berson properly performed the surgery and provided proper postsurgical care.
The defense's expert cardiologist opined that Carr's death was a result of a postsurgical collapse of a lung. He contended that the condition was unpreventable and that it caused an infection and fatal acute respiratory distress syndrome.
Carr suffered a rupture of an anastomosis. Plaintiffs' counsel claimed that the rupture caused a leak of gastrointestinal matter. She contended that the leak caused peritonitis, sepsis and a fatal failure of Carr's organs.
Carr died Aug. 1, 2007. Carr, 67, was survived by two children. Carr's estate sought recovery of wrongful-death damages that included damages for Carr's pain and suffering and damages for his children's loss of companionship. The plaintiffs sought a total of $650,000.
The jury rendered a defense verdict.
This report is based on information that was provided by Berson's counsel. Nyack Hospital's counsel was not asked to contribute, and plaintiffs' counsel did not respond to the reporter's phone calls.