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A TRUE STORY of how one tragic event changed a young man’s life...for the better. Listen in... New York Medical Malpractice Attorney Gerald M. Oginski Explains


A TRUE STORY of how one tragic event changed a young man’s life...for the better. Listen in...

It was Friday.

I was waiting for mom to pick me up.
I had just finished soccer practice.
I was 14 years old.
I was on the soccer team at Great Neck North High School and had a great workout.

I finally asked coach if I could call home. (There were no cell phones back then.)
I called home from the coach’s office.
Mom didn’t answer, but someone else did.

“Hey, where’s my mom? She was supposed to pick me up from school.”
“Uh, there’s been a problem. Your dad’s in the hospital, but he’s ok. She’ll be there soon.”

Turns out dad had a heart attack.

He was only 46 years old.
He was a doctor.
He was an obstetrician & gynecologist.

I went to visit dad that night.
He was in the ICU.
He teared up when he saw me.

He was hooked up to an EKG machine.
He had an IV in his arm.
But he looked fine.
He sounded fine.

But mom said he wasn’t that fine.

His doctor said it would be a few days before he could come home.
I was only 14 years old.
My brother was 12.
My other brother was 9.

On the day before dad was to be discharged he had a massive heart attack and died.
He was only 46.
An obstetrician.
I was only 14.

Dad was allergic to penicillin.

Two days before he was to be discharged, dad developed a urinary tract infection.
The doctor in training, known as a resident, decided to treat the UTI.

How did you treat it back then?
You gave penicillin or a derivative of penicillin.
But wait...

Didn’t he know that dad was allergic to Penicillin?
Didn’t he know that dad never should have received that medication or any derivative of penicillin?

I mean, he was a doctor, right?

He graduated from medical school only months earlier.
He was a new intern.
He was learning.
He was learning from senior doctors and house staff.

Problem was, he was still learning.

No autopsy was done. Being Jewish, it’s against our religion to desecrate a dead person’s body.

He died on the 29th of September.

I remember it clearly even though these events happened 36 years ago.
I was only 14 years old.

The facts surrounding dad’s death just didn’t add up.
Did he get an antibiotic to treat his urinary tract infection?
Did he suffer an allergic reaction known as an anaphylactic reaction?

We didn’t know.
My mom had lots of questions.
We didn’t have any answers.

My mom’s sister knew a lawyer.
A personal injury lawyer.
A well-known, famous lawyer.

He was the first attorney in the country to obtain a million dollar verdict.

He was also a former judge.
A former judge from New York’s highest court.

Turns out, this big-shot lawyer felt my mom had a valid medical malpractice case.
He said the records showed the doctors and hospital violated basic medical standards.
He said the medical records showed dad suffered a fatal heart attack because of an allergic reaction.

An allergic reaction to the antibiotic he received for his urinary tract infection.
This famous trial lawyer said dad’s death was preventable.
Entirely preventable.

I was only 14 years old.
My brother was 12.
My youngest brother was 9.

Dad’s death was preventable.
He was 46.
He was an Ob/Gyn.
He had 3 kids and a lifetime ahead of him.

The attorney said his experts confirmed dad’s death was preventable.

Dad didn’t die of natural causes.

The case went to trial.
In Nassau County.
By now, I was a junior in college.

It was a 3 week trial.
Our famous trial attorney up against two well-known defense attorneys.
One defense attorney for the hospital and the doctor-in-training.
One defense attorney for the cardiologists.

Right in the middle of my final exams in December.
Near Christmas time.

I came to watch part of the trial.

I again came to watch closing arguments.
I came to see who these doctors were who violated the basic standards of medical care.

I wanted to see for myself who caused my father’s death.

What I saw changed my life.

You see, I was pre-med.
I was going to be a doctor, or so I thought.
I was a biology major.

My dad was a doctor.

His dad was a doctor.
My uncle was a doctor.

Three of my cousins were in 6 year medical schools, on their way to becoming doctors.
Another cousin was a doctor.

I was on my way to taking all my pre-requisites for medical school.
Until this trial.
Then my life changed.

Before my mom hired a lawyer, I didn’t even know what a lawyer did.

I didn’t know any lawyers.
I didn’t even known why someone would need an attorney.

It was time for closing arguments in our case.
The two defense attorneys went first.
Their arguments were persuasive.

I liked the attorney who represented the cardiologist better than the attorney who represented the hospital.

He was nicer.
He kinder.
He had a better argument, I thought.

Then our attorney made closing arguments.
He was powerful.
He had total command of the facts.
He was persuasive.

He ridiculed the defense and the doctor’s arguments.

He made the doctor in training, who was now an attending physician, turn red.
He pointed at him.
He called him out.

By the end of closing arguments, I was convinced.
I was convinced that medicine was not what I was born to do.
I thought that I could do what this famous trial attorney was doing.

And...I thought I could do it better.

Sounds pretty arrogant for a kid in college to say that, and it probably was.

I realized walking out of that courtroom that I really didn’t want to be a doctor.
Instead, I wanted to be a medical malpractice trial lawyer, just like our attorney.

For years we had been living with this lawsuit.
Reliving the facts.
Over and over again.

Our attorney’s words kept punctuating our lives.

“His death was preventable.
We have the best experts in New York City on our side.
The best credentialed doctors.
They all agree with us.”

That’s what our attorney kept telling my mom.

Only problem was, the jury didn’t believe it.
At all.

The jury believed the hospital.
The jury believed the doctor in training.
The jury believed the cardiologist who cared for my dad.

They didn’t believe our experts.

The jury didn’t think we had shown that we were more likely right than wrong that the doctors and the hospital staff caused dad’s death.

The jury never even got past the first question...
“Were the defendants negligent and did they depart from good and accepted medical care?”

Their answer?
It was unanimous.
Six of jurors thought the same thing.

That trial changed the direction of my life...
All for the better.

The result was not what we wanted.
The result was devastating.
The outcome, either way, would never bring dad back.

But my mom altered my life’s path by choosing to bring a lawsuit on our behalf.

For that, I am eternally grateful.

That trial in Nassau County,
That famous trial attorney who spoke for us,
Those well-known defense attorneys all unknowingly changed the course of my life.

For the better.

I now had a purpose.
I now had a drive.
I now wanted to help injured victims who could no longer speak for themselves.
And, I wanted to be a better attorney than the one we had.
Much better.

At that point, I wanted to change my major from biology to political science.
But I couldn’t. It was too late.

I graduated with a biology major and a minor in political science.

I took the LSAT’s and headed to law school.

On my first day in law school, I found it fitting to take dad’s tan leather briefcase with me to carry my books. It was a bittersweet moment that only I’d be privy to.

Click here to learn how, twenty seven years later, I wound up going up against the same defense attorney who represented the cardiologist in my dad’s lawsuit. That was fascinating and I’ll share with you why and how I have the greatest respect for that well-known defense attorney.

Remember, I was only 14 years old.

Dad was too young to die of natural causes.
He did get an antibiotic he was allergic to.
But the defense claimed he never got it.

Click here to find out how I got a summer internship with one of the most feared defense law firms in NYC. Find out what my first boss said about my mom’s lawsuit that shocked me.

Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice is a violation of the trust between a patient and healthcare provider. When a medical team is negligent, patients are often left facing serious, lifelong consequences. We put our trust in our doctors, nurses, and hospitals to help us heal and move forward. When this doesn’t happen because someone acted inappropriately, it can be devastating. However, the laws in New York allow medical malpractice victims to hold those responsible for medical injuries and further illness accountable.

Gerry Oginski is a medical malpractice lawyer who has been where you are and who has helped victims all over New York seek justice and obtain compensation for injuries related to misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose, surgical errors, birth injuries, and much more. If you or someone you love has suffered because of a medical mistake, Oginski Law may be able to help. Contact our office today at 516.487.8207 to learn more about your medical malpractice rights and how to protect them.

Failure to Diagnose Cancer

There are often telltale signs of cancer; a breast lump a woman feels during self-exam, a nodule that is seen on an x-ray but misread, elevated tumor markers in various blood tests. The failure to recognize these signs lead an unsuspecting patient on a downward path toward a terrible and often deadly disease. Early intervention and treatment is the key in extending your life expectancy.

Cardiac Malpractice

One recurring theme is where the patient continues to complain to the doctor about ongoing chest pain. The doctor may do certain diagnostic tests and misinterpret them or not realize the significance of the test results. The patient may be lulled into a false sense of security believing the ongoing pain is unrelated to any heart problem.

Emergency Room Errors

When a doctor or nurse in an emergency room fails to properly diagnose a condition and sends a patient home without treatment, that could prove deadly. Learn from an experienced New York medical malpractice lawyer how many errors that occur in an emergency room in NY are preventable. Find out whether the injuries that you suffered were from improper medical care or whether they were a consequence of whatever brought you to the emergency room in the first place.

Gynecology Errors and Mistakes

Improperly performed gynecologic surgery; misread lab tests and incorrectly performed office procedures can have devastating consequences. An unrecognized injury during surgery can be deadly. While recognizing that most doctors are conscientious and want to help you as a patient, there are some physicians who are careless at a particular point in time. That negligence can cause you permanent and irreversible injury.

Gallbladder Surgery

Most gallbladder surgery is done laparoscopically. This means that a doctor uses fiberoptic tools to remove the gallbladder through a mini-incision. There are many benefits to undergo laparoscopy instead of laparotomy. However, the failure to recognize injury to the common bile duct often occurs when the physician improperly clips or cuts the common bile during a laparoscopic gallbladder removal.

Failure to Diagnose Heart Attacks

Failure to recognize the signs and symptoms of a heart attack can prove deadly. Doctors use a medical term known as a myocardial infarction when part of the heart dies from lack of blood flow. A heart attack can kill off part of the heart, causing the other parts of the heart to work overtime and stress itself. In some cases, if heart disease is recognized early enough, medication and treatment can greatly reduce the chance of suffering a permanent, life-long cardiac injury or even death.

Emergency Room Screw-ups

You go to an emergency room believing that you'll get the best care for your medical emergency. The doctors are well-trained, the staff knows what they're doing, the doctors are going to get you better. Unfortunately, that's not always the case. Although most doctors and nurses do their very best to get you healthy, there are numerous cases of inattention and carelessness that result in permanent injury in emergency rooms here in the State of New York.

Wrongful Death

Wrongful death cases can be challenging. Families are forced to face a legal case soon after the death of their loved one, while they are still grieving the loss and may be under mounting financial pressure. These families don’t have to go it alone, though. New York law offers families an avenue to pursue justice for the loved one and obtain compensation to fill the void left by the death. These cases are very personal and in many cases are vital to the family’s ability to move forward.

New York wrongful death lawyer Gerry Oginski understands what a difficult time this can be. His personal and legal experience both have made him uniquely prepared to offer clients compassionate counsel and fierce representation. If someone you love has died due to the negligence of another person, you may be eligible to pursue a claim. Contact Oginski Law to learn more about your legal options today at 516.487.8207 or take a moment to fill out our online contact form for a prompt response.  

Car Accidents

New York personal injury lawyer Gerald M. Oginski represents residents of Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, Manhattan, Staten Island and Nassau and Suffolk Counties who have suffered injuries or death as a result of car accidents or other vehicle accidents. Retaining Gerry to review your car accident injury case gives you the advantage of a solo practitioner determined to get you best results for your injury. If you live in New York and you've been injured, call Gerry today at 516-487-8207.