Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Albany lawyers win huge malpractice case

Jury awards $100M after hospital fails to treat heart attack patient

Two Albany attorneys won a $100 million verdict against an Oneonta hospital Monday over the treatment of a heart attack patient.

Law partners James D. Linnan and Charlene S. Fallon won the largest verdict in Otsego County Court history in the medical malpratice case, Linnan said.

A six-person jury ruled that A.O. Fox Memorial Hospital in Oneonta failed patient Debora Sohl when she went there Jan. 26, 2009, Linnan said. A representative for the hospital could not be reached Monday evening.

Sohl had gone to the hospital with chest pain radiating into her left arm and left side of her jaw. She had an abnormal electrocardiogram reading, all signs of a heart attack, Linnan said.

"She was kept in the emergency room with unrelenting chest pain. It's in the hospital chart: unrelenting chest pain for six hours," he said.

Treatment of a heart attack patient
Even after she was admitted, Linnan said, the hospital failed to treat her. She was transferred to UHS Wilson Medical Center in Johnson City, near Binghamton, where a cardiac catheterization was finally done.

"As a direct result of the 24-hour delay in getting that cardiac catheter, a substantial part of the front and bottom of her heart died and is now scar tissue," Linnan said. "The verdict found that Fox Hospital was negligent, and its doctors didn't provide adequate care."

Sohl's heart now functions at 30 percent of capacity, he said.

"This woman will need extraordinary medical attention," Linnan said. "Within the next six years or so, she'll need a heart transplant. Her lifestyle has been dramatically altered. This woman trained horses. She was a mother and grandmother."

Now 51, Sohl had worked as a bookkeeper and manager for a construction company, but now does not leave her home.

After the jury verdict Monday evening, Linnan said, his client said she finally felt like someone had listened to her.

By Tim O'Brien,,  518-454-5092, @timobrientu

Source: The Albany Times Union


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