At the forefront of the current New York State budget debate is whether or not non-economic damages in New York medical malpractice lawsuits should be capped at $250,000.00. Non-economic damages are those damages awarded by a jury for pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.
According to hospitals and doctors around the State, medical malpractice lawsuits are universally “frivolous.” In response, we ask New York doctors to comment on what just happened to 2 year old Malyia Jeffers. Specifically, we welcome their thoughts on whether this is a case of emergency room malpractice.
A short time ago, Malyia woke up with a fever. When the fever began to rise and Malyia began to show bruising on her cheeks, her parents rushed her to Sacramento’s Methodist Hospital emergency room. According to a CNN report entitled “Harmed In The Hospital? Should You Sue?”, Malyia sat in the emergency room for nearly five (5) hours before she was examined by a physician. By the time emergency room personnel diagnosed her with sepsis (i.e., a blood infection), it was too late. The infection was advanced and, to save her life, doctors had to amputate her left hand, most of her right hand, and both of her legs. Sepsis is typically treated with intravenous antibiotics. “And time matters,” said Michael A. Bottar, of Bottar Leone, PLLC. “It is well known that for every hour of delay in the administration of antibiotic therapy for sepsis, there is an associated 7% rise in mortality.”
Bottar, a Syracuse medical malpractice lawyer, continued “if this happened in New York, and there were a $250,000.00 cap on pain and suffering, Malyia would receive, essentially, $8.00/day for her loss. The average salary for an emergency room physician is $267,000.00 per year, or $731.00/day. Sound fair to you?”