Jury Awards Family $7,000,000 in Ma's Malpractice Death

Publication:Daily News
Author:Sondra Wolfer
Attorney(s):Judith A. Livingston
Practice Area(s):Medical Malpractice / Personal InjuryWrongful Death
Summary:A jury awarded the family of Theresa Capwell $7 million in a Westchester, New York medical-malpractice case. Ms. Capwell died at age 34 of pancreatitis (an inflamed pancreas) because her doctors incorrectly believed she had ovarian cancer. Judith Livingston tried the case, which lasted three-and-a-half weeks. Ms. Livingston commented in the Daily News article: "They were looking for cancer that she didn't have. Every test showed no presence of the disease, yet they continued testing her for cancer."

During treatment, Ms. Capwell was hooked up to a ventilator. Ms. Livingston explained that the machine caused "a buildup of air around her lungs, impeding her lungs from normal expansion and contraction, and thus preventing oxygen intake." A chest tube would have helped; it was suggested by several doctors but never inserted. Ms. Capwell then suffered cardiac arrest and was deprived of oxygen for at least 12 minutes. Ms. Livingston said this left Ms. Capwell "severely brain damaged and completely incapacitated." Ms. Capwell had to go into a nursing home, where she died on September 10, 200l.

Ms. Capwell's three daughters got $1 million each, and $4 million went to her husband, totaling $7 million.
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