Westchester Medical Center ordered to pay $120 million for failure to diagnose and treat a stroke patient in time

por John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | December 19, 2023
CT Stroke X-Ray
Westchester Medical Center
A four-week trial has ended in a $120 million verdict against Westchester Medical Center for its failure to identify a blood clot on a 41-year-old's CT scan and treat him for a stroke in a timely fashion, making it one of the largest awards ever handed out in a Westchester County medical malpractice case.

On November 27, 2018, commercial real estate broker William Lee was rushed to care by ambulance around 3 a.m. for a stroke that left him with extensive brain damage, affecting his judgment and short-term memory and leaving him unable to care for himself, let alone his wife and two children. As a result, he will spend the remainder of his life at a residential California brain injury center, according to the Westchester County News.

"Unfortunately he can no longer be a husband to his wife, a father to his children," Lee’s lawyer Ben Rubinowitz, of Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf, told the Journal News. "It's been a horrific situation for them."
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According to his lawyers, a CT scan was scheduled for Lee when he arrived at WMC, a nationally certified stroke center, in Valhalla, New York, but the doctors who read the scan were residents, as there was no board-certified radiologist on site at the time. They did not see the occlusion in his basilar artery and determined there was no clot.

Three hours later, an attending radiologist reviewing the scans spotted it and performed a thrombectomy to remove it, but the damage had already taken place, his lawyers argued. Additionally, a delayed diagnosis of antiphospholipid syndrome, which causes blood clots, appeared to cause further damage, they said.

The hospital argued that because of the nature of the blockage, Lee had already suffered brain damage before arriving at WMC.

The jury took a day to reach a guilty verdict. Judge Paul Marx handed down the $120 million damages to WMC, which includes $9.375 million for past pain and suffering and $41.625 million for future pain and suffering. Another $9.375 million is for his wife, Anna Lee, for past loss and $41,625 million for future loss because of her husband's injuries. She also received $550,000 for medical and other supplies and services needed to care for her husband.

“This landmark case not only showcases the severe impact of medical negligence but also highlights the exceptional legal expertise of our team of attorneys in achieving justice for victims of medical malpractice,” said Lee’s law firm.

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