Jury Awards $62 Million In Brooklyn Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

How does one determine the compensation to make up for losing two limbs and the consequent loss of enjoyment of life? That’s what a Brooklyn jury deliberated for three days in the case of Stacey Galette vs. Winthrop University Hospital. It wasn’t an easy decision, jurors said, but they eventually decided on awarding the plaintiff $62 million in her Brooklyn medical malpractice lawsuit. The total sum included $20 million for past pain and suffering, $38 million for future pain and suffering, and another $4 million plus interest to cover medical expenses.

“I’m just happy justice was served,” the victim said of the final verdict.

Long Island hospital malpractice puts plaintiff through horrible ordeal

Stacey Galette, a trained medical technician and mother of a 13-year-old daughter, checked into Long Island’s Winthrop University Hospital for the removal of an ectopic pregnancy back in 2009. After the procedure, the patient was feverish, exhibited an abnormal heart rate and complained of pain. Despite running a CT scan, the hospital failed to detect a 5-millimeter hole in her colon — until it was too late and she had suffered an infection that led to blood poisoning and gangrene.

The 34-year-old spent 73 days in the intensive care unit where she went into cardiac arrest three times, lost her hearing as a side effect of powerful antibiotics, lost both legs below the knee and underwent a colostomy procedure.

Defense argues that doctors acted reasonably

Most would consider Ms. Galette’s extensive injuries a “surgery gone awry,” but the defense argued that the doctors acted responsibly based on medical evidence at the time. They claimed the injury occurred after the procedure and was related to an underlying bowel condition. “Even if it did occur during the procedure,” they argued, it would constitute as a “recognized risk” of surgery, rather than medical malpractice.

“Unfortunately, the treatment she needed had very serious side effects,” said the defense attorney on the first day of the trial.

The plaintiff survived thanks to the health care providers listening to her complaints, the counsel told a Supreme Court jury in Brooklyn. The five men and five women on the jury clearly did not agree.

What New Yorkers can do about medical malpractice

New York City hospitals paid out a whopping $131 million in malpractice settlements in 2013, according to the NY Daily News. Compared to 2012, eight more cases were settled, but hospitals paid out $3 million less in negotiations and awards. New Yorkers involved in the malpractice lawsuits would all rather turn back the clocks than sue a hospital for damages. Yet, it is important to seek justice in these cases – not just to receive compensation to cover your medical bills, but also to hold healthcare professionals accountable for their life-altering mistakes, prompt reforms in hospital safety procedures and prevent similar medical errors from happening to others.

The Sanders Firm has more than 45 years of trial experience in medical malpractice litigation. Call 1-800-FAIR-PLAY any time of day or night for a free consultation with one of our NY personal injury lawyers. You don’t pay a dime unless we win the case for you! Resources

  1. NY Daily News – Woman Lost Legs Due To Hospital Negligence, https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/woman-lost-legs-due-hospital-negligence-jury-hears-article-1.1506707
  2. NY Daily News – Women Woman Who Lost Legs, Hospital In Malpractice Trial Agree Not To Speak To Media, https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/bk-woman-lost-legs-hospital-agree-speak-media-article-1.1509101
  3. Gothamist – Brooklyn Woman Left Double Amputee After “Simple Procedure”, https://gothamist.com/2010/11/19/bk_woman_left_double_amputee_after.php
  4. NY Daily News – Hospitals’ Malpractice Costs Drop By $3 Million, https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/hosps-131m-errors-malpractice-costs-drop-article-1.1456979#ixzz2fkuMO5pB