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City Paid $570 Million In Personal Injury Lawsuits In 2004

Feb 20, 2005 | AP The city paid a record $570 million in 2004 on personal injury cases that range from medical malpractice to traffic accidents.

The cases cost the city $12 million more than last year and medical malpractice cases made up nearly a third of the jury verdicts and settlements paid out.

City Tort Chief Fay Leoussis said hospitals treat people in uneasy circumstances. She told the New York Post they "are going to create a certain percentage of high-end cases, it's just the volume."

The payouts included $6.9 million in the case of Joel Fernandez, an 11-month-old gastrointestinal surgery patient who was discharged from Metropolitan Hospital Center although he had a serious infection.

His mother then took him to Lincoln Hospital, where doctors failed to diagnose the sepsis infection, which led to serious brain damage.

Also, $5.15 million to Daury Espinal who went to Bellevue Hospital to treat nosebleeds he kept getting after a motorcycle accident. His lawyer said doctors did not treat a pseudoaneurysm in a brain artery and later also suffered brain damage.

Leoussis said the increase was caused the city settling more cases faster and cutting the backlog down and also because appellate courts are letting more expensive verdicts stand.

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