Outdated Wrongful Death Laws Fail New York Family in Specific Case of Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
New York, New York - June 17, 2009 - The New York wrongful death attorneys representing the family of Esmin Elizabeth Green who died last summer at Kings County Hospital settled their wrongful death lawsuit against New York City for $2 million for this specific case of medical malpractice, The New York Post reports.
The hospital’s video camera recorded Green waiting in the emergency room for nearly 24 hours with no attention from a doctor or other hospital staff. The video also showed that early the next day, Green fell out of her chair and lay on the floor for about an hour before staff gave her any meaningful assistance. At one point, a hospital employee even nudged Green with her foot. By the time help was summoned, Ms. Green had stopped breathing and all doctors could do was try, unsuccessfully, to resuscitate her.
“The death of Esmin Green, a 49-year-old mother of six, was a clear cut case of negligence unbelievably caught on video tape,” says David Perecman, a New York medical malpractice attorney who has won similar and greater awards for medical malpractice cases, even without the benefit of such palpable evidence.
Unfortunately, in this extraordinary medical malpractice case, New York’s wrongful death laws inadequately make no provision for the family’s pain and suffering. “The family’s $2 million settlement represents only financial loss,” explains Perecman. “If Ms. Green had been a child or a retired person, her family could well have received nothing.”
Typically, in a case like this, medical malpractice attorneys push for the defendant to pay punitive damages, the monetary award used to punish the wrongdoer and deter the defendant and others from similar misbehavior in the future.
The family of Ms. Green can’t claim punitive damages against Kings County Hospital because it is a city run hospital and, as a municipality, The City of New York is protected under the state’s immunity umbrella. Thus, the $2 million only represents the monetary amount necessary to replace “lost” income that would have contributed to support the family.
"The way the law is on the books now, they’ll never have to pay Ms. Green’s family and children the true value of losing their mother, said Perecman, a medical malpractice and wrongful death attorney familiar with the New York system.
To its credit, the hospital took swift action after Ms. Green’s death. It fired the director of psychiatry, the doctor on duty and the head of security. It changed its emergency room protocols to reduce patients’ waits and make hospital staff more accountable for their actions. But, while these actions may prevent further incidents, they provide little comfort for Ms. Green’s six children.
There is still a criminal investigation of the hospital’s actions underway on this specific negligence and medical malpractice case.
About David Perecman and The Perecman Firm, PLLC:
For the past 25 years, the New York medical malpractice, personal injury, auto accident and construction accident attorneys at The Perecman Firm, PLLC have championed all types of medical malpractice cases. David Perecman,
founder of the Firm, is the current Secretary of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association (NYSTLA) and a chair of its Labor Law Committee. Mr. Perecman’s achievements have brought him recognition as an Honoree in the
National Law Journal’s Hall of Fame, in New York Magazine’s “The Best Lawyers in America” and The New York Times Magazine “New York Super Lawyers, Metro Edition”.
The Firm has recovered millions of dollars for its clients. Among the more recent victories, Mr. Perecman won a $15 million verdict* for a construction accident, a $5.35 million dollar verdict** for an automobile accident, and a
$40 million dollar structured settlement for medical malpractice.
*later settled while on appeal for $7.940 million
** later settled for $3.5 million
“Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.”
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