The Turkewitz Law Firm

New York Personal Injury Attorney ♦ Medical Malpractice ♦ Trial Lawyer

Serving Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Rockland, Dutchess, Westchester, Nassau & Suffolk Counties
Eric Turkewitz
228 E. 45 St., 17th Floor
New York, NY 10017
Phone: (212) 983-5900

As Published In
The New York Jury Verdict Reporter

Medical Malpractice Failure To Diagnose Appendicitis Peritonitis and Colostomy

Case: Nicholas and Gladys Xxxxx v. Bronx Cross County Medical Group Clinton Center and [GVF], M.D./Bronx Cross County Medical Group and [GVF], M.D. v. [PR], M.D. and Our Lady of Mercy Medical Center; 6172/87, 3-week trial

Date of Verdict: 4/13/93

Judge: David Levy

Venue: Bronx Supreme

Verdict: $400,000 v. Bronx Cross County and [GVF]. Breakdown: $ 300,000 for pain and suffering; $100,000 for loss of services. The case against the Third-party Defendants was discontinued. Post-trial motions were denied. Jury: 2 male, 4 female.

Plaintiff Attorney: Eric M. Turkewitz for Charles Silverstein, Manhattan

Defendant Attorney: George D. Salerno of Fisher, Fallon, Salerno, Betlesky & Kelly, Manhattan, for Defendants Dr. [GVF] and Bronx Cross County Medical Group; David Gince of Gordon & Silber, Manhattan, for Third-party Defendant Dr. [PR]; Kenneth J. Burford of Bower & Gardner, Manhattan, for Third-party Defendant Our Lady of Mercy Medical Center

Plaintiff, age 39, claimed that on 11/21/85 he presented to Defendant Dr. [GVF], an internist and partner at Defendant Bronx Cross County Medical Group, with complaints of abdominal pain on the right side. Defendant [GVF] found flank tenderness but no abdominal tenderness, rebound tenderness, guarding, or any classic signs of appendicitis. Defendant diagnosed a urinary tract infection and prescribed Ampicillin, an antibiotic. Plaintiff also underwent a blood test and urinalysis but the tests were not performed on an emergency basis. Plaintiff claimed that on his discharge he was not instructed what to do if the pain persisted. He testified that he returned to work on 11/22/85, the next day, but the pain persisted and he presented to the Third-party Defendant Hospital at 4 AM on 11/23. Gall bladder disease was diagnosed on admission. Plaintiff was examined by Third-party Defendant Dr. [PR], a surgeon, between 5 and 6 AM and Dr. [PR] operated on him at 7:30 PM that same day. A perforated appendix and a gangrenous cecum were found and a large bowel resection of the cecum and ascending colon was performed.

On 12/2/85, Plaintiff experienced leakage of the sutured intestines at the operation site and Dr. [PR] performed subsequent surgery with a colostomy. The colostomy was reversed 6 months later. Plaintiff underwent a fourth operation for drainage from the suture sinuses in February 1990.

Plaintiff claimed that Defendant was negligent for failing to diagnose and treat the appendicitis 2 days after the onset of the symptoms. He contended that the delay allowed the condition to become necrotic. He also claimed that Defendant failed to instruct him to return to the hospital if the pain persisted or worsened. Plaintiff argued that his blood and urine should have been examined immediately to confirm the diagnosis of a urinary tract infection. Plaintiff claimed that he subsequently required multiple abdominal surgeries due to Defendant's negligence.

Defendant's expert testified that Plaintiff had a retrocecal appendix, in which the appendix is not located in the classic position but is actually turned upwards behind the cecum, obscuring typical complaints. He claimed that the diagnosis of a urinary tract infection was reasonable. Defendant [GVF] argued that since appendicitis was not diagnosed, it was not necessary to perform the blood and urine tests on an immediate basis. He contended that this was a difficult diagnosis to make based on the Third- party Defendant's initial diagnosis of a gall bladder problem. Defendant also claimed that he gave Plaintiff discharge instructions to call if the complaints did not subside. He argued that the infection worsened because Plaintiff spent 15 hours in the hospital awaiting surgery. The case against Dr. [PR] was discontinued after jury selection and was discontinued against Our Lady of Mercy Medical Center after the testimony of Defendant's expert.

Plaintiff Expert: Dr. Howard Xxxxxx, surgeon, Queens.
Defendant Expert: Dr. Gene Coppa, surgeon, Manhattan.

Updated: 3/2/2016
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