Jury awards $17 million in N.Y. medical malpractice case

By Chris Rizo | May 27, 2008

Strong Memorial Hospital

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (Legal Newsline)-A New York jury on Tuesday ordered Strong Memorial Hospital to pay a former patient more than $17 million in a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Brenda Schenk, 37, claimed a Caesarean delivery in 2003 damaged her organs and resulted in the removal of her transplanted pancreas she received in 1995 to treat her diabetes.

Her attorneys claimed that because of poor planning, doctors at the Rochester, N.Y., hospital cut the connection between her pancreas and bladder during the Caesarean delivery, causing pancreatic fluid and urine to leak into her abdominal cavity.

The acidic fluid burned her organs, ate through her abdominal wall and required doctors to remove her pancreas, the Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle reported.

"This was her opportunity to fulfill her dream to be a mother, Schenk's attorney Steven Pegalis was quoted as saying. "Instead of the birth of this child being the high point of her life, which it could have been and should have been, it turned out to be a nightmare."

Schenk had a healthy baby girl, the newspaper reported.

Strong Memorial Hospital officials said in a statement that they were planning to appeal the verdict.

"We deeply regret the complications suffered by Mrs. Schenk, yet given what the medical team knew at the time of her delivery, we stand behind the decisions that were made," the hospital said.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo by e-mail at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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