We often hear about doctors being involved in multi-million dollar lawsuits, but it is rare that the physician is actually the one suing rather than the one being sued. A Connecticut physician sued the anesthesiologist and hospital where his wife died during routine face-lift surgery for a total of $3.1 million in medical malpractice and won.
Dr. Alan J. Malitz sued for gross negligence after his wife, Susan, died just two hours after entering Manhattan Eye Ear & Throat Hospital on February 16, 2004. Fifty-six-year-old Susan Malitz died of cardiac failure caused by an overdose of local anesthetic. While in surgery, the alarms that monitor the patient’s blood oxygen levels were turned so far down that they were inaudible.
The Malitz’s settlement was reached after just four days of trial and requires that the hospital pays $400,000 and the anesthesiologist pays $2.7 million. However, this was not the first time the hospital has been sued. In 2004, just five weeks before Susan Malitz died there, Olivia Goldsmith, author of the book First Wives Club (later made into the movie of the same name), died during a routine cosmetic procedure, also. Later that same year, a 61-year-old mother of two suffered brain damage after a face-lift and was awarded $7 million.
While doctors constantly complain about paying the huge medical malpractice insurance premiums they must pay, Dr. Malitz must have been extremely relieved that malpractice insurance does exist and payment is awarded to deserving victims of medical malpractice or negligence.