The wife of a man who died after a Flushing hospital postponed his gallbladder surgery by accident received $7.6 million from a Queens Supreme Court jury on December 23.
Nam Lee, a Korean immigrant, died at the age of 60 at New York Hospital Queens. He arrived at the hospital on June 18, 2008 for gallstones and was supposed to have his gallbladder removed the next day. Unfortunately, his name was not on the surgical schedule, so they had to postpone, but his name was not there the following day either. When he was finally ready for surgery, Lee's health had declined substantially and he could not go through the operation. He died the following day.
His wife, Young Sook Lee, 59, who works full-time, is grateful for the jury award. She looks forward to using it for her daughter, Jae Yon Lee, 32, who is mentally ill with epilepsy. She was previously taken care of by her father, who was a salesman, and could afford to take her with him to work. Since his death, she had taken up residence in a series of state hospitals and group homes. Lee also left a son, age 35, who says they will use the funds to buy 24/7 care for his sister.
The hospital's attorney admits they were in error, but he plans to appeal the case because he believes the verdict was too high.
This case dealt with the failure to timely perform a necessary surgery. The question that will always arise in these cases is: "If the patient had undergone the surgery, would his outcome be different?" If the answer is yes, then there is sufficient reason to award damages. If however the answer is no, then it would be difficult to justify such a jury award.
Many of the gallbladder malpractice cases involve a technical deficiency during the course of surgery. Sometimes the wrong part of the anatomy is clamped off causing bile to leak out which can be fatal if not detected early and corrected.
If you would like more information about how medical malpractice cases work in the state of New York, I encourage you to explore my educational website. If you have legal questions, I urge you to pick up the phone and call me at 516-487-8207 or by e-mail at [email protected] to answer your questions. That's what I do every day. I welcome your call.