A routine scoliosis surgery gone horribly wrong led to the paralysis and eventual death of a 22-year-old New York resident. As reported by the New York Times, Edward Beloyianis got the operation as a preventative measure at the age of 14, in the hopes it would keep his curving spine from eventually causing permanent damage to his internal organs. The surgery took place at New York-Presbyterian Hospital-Columbia University Medical Center, where – according to allegations – the surgeons accidentally misplaced four of the spinal screws, which caused his paralysis.
Despite this massive physical setback, Beloyianis continued his studies, learned to drive a car with only hand controls, and graduated magna cum laude at State University of New York in Farmingdale. Just before he was set to receive his diploma, Beloyianis died at the young age of 22, due to health complications from his paralysis. His parents filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the attending surgeons and hospital, which was tried in a Bronx Supreme Court. Following three days of deliberation, the jury returned a verdict against the defendants, awarding $45.6 million to Edward’s parents.
Botched surgery results in paralysis, untimely death
The surgery malpractice trial lasted six months, as jurors listened to testimony and reviewed evidence from both parties. The plaintiff’s lawyer argued that after the decedent’s 2002 operation, the Manhattan hospital had told Beloyianis’s parents that he had suffered a stroke during the surgery. They also allegedly told the family that they had ruled out any surgical injury with a CT scan. The parents were told “It was nobody’s fault,” said their lawyer, who contended that hospital staff never performed a CT scan – a test that would have shown the misplaced screws and enabled surgeons to take immediate corrective measures.
Before the scoliosis operation, Beloyianis had been an avid ice hockey player and loved sports. But even as a paraplegic, he learned to cope with his disabilities, keep a positive outlook and remain active. His parents were dealt a second blow when they lost their son at the age of 22.
According to court papers, Michael Beloyianis and Virginia Beaton were awarded $45.6 million, which included $40 million for their son’s pain and suffering. The jury split liability evenly between the hospital and the surgeon, Dr. David P. Roye Jr., New York-Presbyterian Children’s Hospital’s director of pediatric orthopedic surgery.
Surgery malpractice in South Carolina
Health care professionals are charged with providing a certain standard of care, but when deviations from protocols are made, whether from lapses in judgment, inexperience or gross negligence, patients often suffer life-altering harm. Surgery malpractice can encompass a wide range of errors, including wrong-site surgery, leaving foreign objects behind, improper sterilization, insufficient preoperative planning, and injuring a nerve or body part.
In the wake of an injury or death in South Carolina, liability may be found with the hospital, anesthesiologist, surgeon, operating room nurse, or other providers who played a key role. From a legal standpoint, these cases are typically very complex and as such need the skill and resources of an experienced medical malpractice lawyer who has experience litigating claims in the state’s courts.
Speak with a personal injury lawyer South Carolina trusts
If you or a loved one was harmed or suffered complications following a hospital stay or operation, and think you may have grounds for filing a South Carolina personal injury lawsuit, please call The Jeffcoat Firm today to learn more about your legal options.
Call (803) 200-2000 to schedule your free case review with a Richland County personal injury attorney with a proven track record of success.