On December 12, 2008, a jury in a Westchester County medical malpractice case awarded a 7 million dollar verdict to the family of Theresa Capwell, an Orange County mother of three who died on September 10, 2001. Ms. Capwell had been admitted to Westchester Medical Center on September 18, 2000 complaining of abdominal pain. Apparently, although her symptoms indicated that she was suffering from pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas, doctors at the hospital instead ran tests for various types of cancer, and disregarded test results which showed that Ms. Capwell did not have the disease.
When the inflamed pancreas was not treated, Ms. Capwell suffered complications, and was placed on a breathing machine one week after admission to the hospital. The breathing machine caused an accumulation of air around the lungs, which prevented the lungs from expanding and contracting. Had doctors at the hospital used a chest tube to drain the air around the lungs, tragedy could have been averted, but instead, Ms. Capwell was kept attached to the ventilator, and went into cardiac arrest. She had no oxygen for approximately 12 minutes, causing irreversible brain damage, and Ms. Capwell died 11 months later, unable to speak or leave her bed.
Westchester Medical Center vowed to appeal the verdict, which came after a three week trial and one day of deliberations. Ms. Capwell’s three daughters were 7, 9 and 11 when she died back in 2001.
According to the National Institutes of Health, about 210,000 people are admitted to U..S. hospitals annually for treatment of acute pancreatitis. With correct treatment, the condition usually resolves within a few days.
If you have been the victim of medical malpractice in New York, contact The Law Office of Mark A. Siesel online or toll free at 888-761-7633 for a free consultation with an experienced, aggressive advocate who will provide personal attention to your case and fight to obtain the maximum compensation for your injuries, lost earnings and medical bills.