He was a good worker.
A tireless worker.
An immigrant.

He spoke English fairly well.
He had a distinct Eastern European accent.

He drove an old luxury car.
It had dents.
It had lots of mileage on it.

My client had chest pain.
He thought it was muscle pain.
He thought it was shoulder pain.
The pain radiated down his left shoulder.

He went to his pain medicine doctor.
He went to his physical rehabilitation doctor.

They looked at him.
They examined him.
They gave him injections.

The pain didn’t stop.
The pain didn’t get better.
It got worse.

He went to his internist.
His internist told him he had shingles.
He begged him to do an EKG.

The internist relented.
He performed an EKG.
He told him the EKG was normal.

Next day, patient’s shoulder pain is worse.
Next day, patient calls an ambulance.
Next day, EMT tells patient he’ll wait in ER for hours.

Patient decides to see another doctor.
Patient doesn’t want to wait in ER for hours.
Patient’s shoulder & chest pain worsens.

He waits in doctor’s office for 2 hours.
Finally, doctor does an EKG.
He’s having a massive heart attack.

Ambulance is called.
He’s taken to a local hospital.
He’s diagnosed with significant heart damage.

Patient brings a lawsuit.
He seeks compensation from doctors who treated him.
He wants to be repaid for the harms he suffered.

Importantly, the internist misread the EKG.
Internist should have seen EKG changes.
Internist should have sent patient to hospital.

If he had sent patient to hospital, he’d have had angiogram.
Angiogram would have shown blockage of cardiac artery.
Patient would have had stent procedure to open clogged artery.

Heart attack would have been avoided.

Experts determined that internist was at fault.
But, defense dug around and found something.
They thought patient was a liar.

They thought he didn’t declare taxes.
They thought he wasn’t who he claimed to be.
They thought he wasn’t telling the truth.

Yet shortly before trial, they offered to settle.
Shortly before trial, they agreed to negotiate.
Shortly before trial, they wanted to dispose of this case.

Why now?
Why would they negotiate if they thought he was a liar?

Because they knew a jury would resent the internist.
They knew a jury would find it unforgivable.
They knew the internist could not defend his actions.

They knew.
We knew.
Didn’t matter much that they thought my client was untruthful.

They knew that the jury would take it out on internist.
They knew that my client was somewhat sympathetic.
They knew all this.

Best they could hope for is to minimize jury verdict.
Best they could hope for is a verdict within doctor’s insurance policy.
Best they could hope for is a negotiated settlement.

They offered him hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Their offer was appropriate.
Their offer was the right thing.
They risked more than we did by going to trial.

My client accepted their offer.
My client was appreciative.
My client denied he ever was untruthful.

Had the case not settled, a jury would have decided.
They would decide who was more likely right than wrong.
They would decide who was more believable.
They would decide who they liked better.
They would also decide which attorney was more believable too.

Gerry Oginski
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NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer