A state appellate court announced Monday that it has ordered Kaleida Health to pay almost all of the $24 million owed to Daniel C. Oakes, an Olean businessman left permanently paralyzed by an undiagnosed brain aneurysm he suffered 13 years ago at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital.
Oakes, now 55, suffered the aneurysm July 18, 1998, and suffered a massive stroke Aug. 7, 1998, that left him paralyzed. The suit against Kaleida Health, which is liable for the bulk of any court verdict; Oakes' Olean doctor, Rajnikant Patel; and Jamestown neurologist Satish K. Mongia alleges that a misdiagnosed brain scan Oakes got in July 1998 from a private firm used by Millard Suburban led to the stroke.
In a 3-2 vote, the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court in Rochester upheld an April 2009 jury decision in a case before State Supreme Court Justice Timothy J. Drury. The jury award of about $18 million came after another jury had awarded Oakes $5 million the previous year. Court officials said the current total judgment with court-imposed interest is running at about $24 million.
Kaleida Health spokesman Michael Hughes said the company is evaluating the decision "to determine our next course of action." Francis M. Letro, Oakes' chief attorney, said he hopes Kaleida "does the right thing" and drops further appeals.
Appellate Justices Stephen K. Lindley of Rochester and Rose H. Sconiers and Salvatore R. Martoche, both of Buffalo, upheld the second jury verdict, rejecting claims by the defendants that they were denied a fair trial due to some of the comments and conduct of Drury and Letro.
The majority of the appellate court, which heard Kaleida's appeal on March 1, held that "certain actions and statements" Drury made during the second jury trial "may have been somewhat intemperate or ill-advised" but were "not so egregious as to have deprived the defendants of a fair trial."
Cattaraugus County claims against Kaleida for more than $1 million in Medicaid costs it has incurred providing care for Oakes also are pending, court officials said Monday.
Instead of Millard Suburban radiologists examining the July 1998 CT scan, it was shipped to a private concern that then had a contract with Kaleida, and the brain aneurysm was ignored, Letro said.
"There was no coordination of care," he said, "and nobody was talking to each other" in trying to determine Oakes' medical problems prior to the stroke.