Diane (Cestra) Parmentier, indiv. and as m/n/g of Monique Parmentier, inf. f/k/a Monique Cestra, inf. under the age of 14 v. Dr. Richard Hill
Type of Injury
Defense verdict for all Defts. (6/0)
IX/44-11 MEDICAL MALPRACTICE FAILURE TO TIMELY DIAGNOSE RARE FORM OF MENINGITIS BRAIN DAMAGE DEFENSE VERDICT
Diane (Cestra) Parmentier, indiv. and as m/n/g of Monique Parmentier, inf. f/k/a Monique Cestra, inf. under the age of 14 v. Dr. Richard Hill, Dr. R. Joel Perkerson, Dr. Saul Blecher, Dr. Joseph LoVece, and Southside Hospital 83/010566 2-month trial Verdict 3/13/92 Judge Patrick Henry, Suffolk Supreme
VERDICT: Defense verdict for all Defts. (6/0). Jury: 2 male, 4 female. Notice of Appeal by Pltf. is likely.
Pltf. Atty: William A. Wismann and David C. Weisberg of Davidow, Davidow & Wismann, Patchogue
Deft. Atty: Robert W. DeVerna of Wortman, Fumuso, Kelly, DeVerna & Snyder, Hauppauge, for Hill and LoVece
Richard C. Mooney of Rivkin, Radler, Bayh, Hart & Kremer, Uniondale, for Perkerson
William G. Spratt of Bower & Gardner, Manhattan, for Blecher and Southside
Facts: On 11/8/80, the 10-week-old Pltf. and her two older sisters, ages 2 and 4, were brought to Deft. Dr. Hill’s office suffering from intestinal symptoms. Pltf. was feverish, lethargic, and irritable, and had vomited the night before. She was admitted to Deft. Southside Hospital for observation. Defts. Perkerson and Blecher, residents in the hospital, performed a spinal tap 15 hours later after consulting with the attending physician. The tap was positive for meningitis. Pltf. was treated with Chloramphenicol and Ampicillin with a presumptive diagnosis of H flu meningitis. Further tests revealed the existence of Salmonella B meningitis, a rare type of the disease. Pltf. became very lethargic and began experiencing seizures. She was intubated and transferred to North Shore University Hospital where she remained from 11/9/80 through 1/21/81. During that time, she experienced several relapses.
Injuries: brain damage resulting in mental retardation. The child also has a congenital malocclusion, and Pltf.’s treating orthodontist testified that it will be difficult to treat the overbite because the child will not wear braces or a dental retainer. Pltf., age 12 at the time of trial, functions on a first grade level. She is enrolled in an alternative learning class. Pltf. contended that the child will be unable to work or care for herself. Pltf. also contended that the child will require institutionalization at a special school from age 21 to 31 and then in an intermediate care facility, followed by possible group home living. Defts. claimed that Pltf. will be able to perform in a group home with vocational training for a sheltered workshop or supportive employment.
Pltf. contended that if Defts. had performed the lumbar puncture sooner, the meningitis would have been diagnosed and the infant cured. Pltf. also contended that Deft.’s nursing staff negligently failed to properly monitor the child and report changes in her clinical condition to the residents and attending doctor.
Defts. contended that they used appropriate judgment in making their presumptive diagnosis of a viral infection based on the symptoms and clinical presentation of Pltf.’s sisters. It was later noted that Pltf.’s sisters both had positive stool cultures for Salmonella B meningitis. Defts. also contended that lumbar punctures should not be performed indiscriminately. Defts. also contended that in view of the child’s lengthy clinical course and hospital stay, treatment 15 hours earlier would not have made a difference in her final condition. They also contended that Chloramphenicol and Ampicillin, the antibiotics available at that time, were not effective against Salmonella B meningitis. Offer: structured settlement with a present cost of $700,000; demand: $4,000,000; amount asked of jury: $10,000,000.
Pltf. Experts: Dr. Hugh Evans, neonatologist and infectious diseases, New Jersey School of Medicine, Newark, New Jersey; Dr. Leonard Graziani, pediatric neurologist, Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Dr. Steven Bisbing, forensic psychologist, Tacoma Park, Maryland; Dr. Stanley Gould, pediatrician, Woods School, Langhorne, Pennsylvania; Katherine Piggott, nursing expert, Seattle, Washington; Dr. Edward O’Shea, treating orthodontist, Port Jefferson; Dr. Frederic Levine, treating psychologist, Port Jefferson; Dr. Edmond Provder, vocational expert, Manhattan; Dr. Alfred Spieler, pediatrician, Patchogue; Dr. Helen Emmerich, school psychologist, Three Village School System; Dr. Jeffrey Pomerantz, school psychologist, Three Village School System; Dr. Albert Levenson, economist, Woodmere. Deft. Experts: Dr. Abe Chutorian, pediatric neurologist, Manhattan; Dr. Joyce Spinello, vocational expert, Manhattan; Dr. Mark Kaplan, Pltf.’s treating physician, infectious diseases (by subpoena), Manhasset.