Bronx Jury Agrees That Grave Surgical Errors Caused Man’s Death

In 2010, Michael Beloyianis and Virginia Beaton lost their son, 22-year-old Edward Beloyianis, years after he had undergone a surgery to correct a spinal abnormality. The Long Island parents filed a surgery malpractice lawsuit against the NY hospital that performed the surgery, alleging that preventable errors caused his paralysis and subsequent death.

Late in May 2015, a Bronx jury agreed with the parents, finding the defendants liable for $45.6 million, $40 million of it for the decedent’s pain and suffering. The jury found that culpability for the surgical errors was evenly divided between the surgeon and the hospital, the New York Presbyterian Children’s Hospital.

A statement released by the hospital said that the defendants’ “sympathies and thoughts continue to be with the Beloyianis family,” but that the hospital vehemently disagrees with the verdict and plans to appeal.

In an interview with the Daily News, the grieving father said, “The money doesn’t matter. You could give me a zillion dollars and I’d take my son.” About the defendants, Beloyianis stated, “We trusted them wholeheartedly, and there was a screw-up. We lost trust in doctors. Wouldn’t you?”

Death occurred eight years after surgery

The grieving parents’ son had been diagnosed with scoliosis years earlier. Scoliosis is a spinal deformity in which there is one or more abnormal side-to-side curves of the spine. Many adolescents with scoliosis can successfully treat their condition with conservative treatments such as back bracing. Others, like Edward, have severe curvatures which, if allowed to worsen without treatment, could eventually threaten his ability to breathe.

Edward underwent surgery in November 2002 at the age of 14. Surgery for scoliosis typically involves correcting as much of the abnormal curvature as is possible and fusing together two or more vertebrae to prevent the curvature from worsening. This spinal fusion is accomplished with surgical hardware such as metal rods, hooks, and screws, and is further strengthened over time as the bone heals into these devices.

The NY parents’ medical malpractice lawsuit claimed that the surgeons had misplaced four of the screws in the spine. Reportedly, those screws compressed Edward’s spinal cord. The nerve damage resulted in paralysis from the waist downward. Despite these challenges, Edward still managed to live a full life until his death. He went to college and held a job repairing computers. However, he was severely limited in his overall function. After the surgery, he never again played his favorite sport, hockey.

In 2010, Edward passed away due to complications from a urinary tract infection (UTI). UTIs are known complications of paralysis. They commonly occur among paralyzed individuals because of the loss of bladder function, such as the inability to completely empty the bladder.

Although specific details about Edward’s medical condition were not forthcoming, one possible life-threatening complication of UTIs is sepsis, which is a blood infection.

Parents claim hospital lied to them

According to a spokesperson for the family, the hospital lied to the family immediately following the surgery. The hospital allegedly told the parents that a CT scan had been performed and that no problems were detected. The lawsuit further alleged that a CT scan had actually never been performed. Additionally, if a CT scan had been performed, and the misplaced surgical screws were detected and addressed in time, there is a possibility that Edward could have regained some physical function.

Leading hospital malpractice experts in NY

The New York medical malpractice lawyers at The Sanders Firm are deeply troubled by reports of serious surgical errors that lead to disability or death. We would like to extend a free case review to those who believe they or a loved one may have been the victim of medical malpractice. Our personal injury practice has been fighting for the rights of New Yorkers for over 45 years. Residents throughout NY can call 1-800-FAIR-PLAY to discuss filing a surgery malpractice lawsuit. Resources

  1. The New York Times, Jury in the Bronx Awards $45 Million for a Death After Surgery,
  2. Daily News, $45M payout in spinal surgery lawsuit but even ‘a zillion’ won’t bring back son, say kin,
  3. MedlinePlus, Scoliosis,