June 1, 2015 — The New York Times reports that a jury in the Bronx has awarded $45 million to the family of a man who was paralyzed during a botched spinal surgery as a teenager and later died as a result of complications.
The surgery occurred at New York Presbyterian Hospital at Columbia University Medical Center. The victim, Edward Beloyianis, underwent surgery in November 2002 to treat scoliosis.
His lawyers said the surgery was “cosmetic” at the time, but the condition could have eventually started compressing organs. Two rods and 10 screws were used to straighten the “S”-curve in his spine.
The lawsuit alleges that his surgeon, Dr. David P. Roye Jr., misplaced four screws, which pressed on his spinal cord. Immediately after the surgery, he was paralyzed from the waist down. He survived for another eight years and even graduated college magna cum laude, but died at the age of 22 from complications or paralysis.
Attorneys for the hospital said Mr. Beloyianis had a stroke and a CT scan ruled out any injuries to the spinal cord. However, plaintiffs said there was never a CT scan and if there had been one, doctors should have noticed the screws pressing against his spinal cord and corrected the problem.
The family’s attorney told the NY Daily News:
“Had they done the CT scan, they would have seen the screws. But they never did one. They just said they did one.”
The jury awarded Mr. Beloyianis’s parents $45.6 million in compensatory damages, including $5 million per year in pain and suffering from the date of his injuries in 2002 until his death in 2010. Responsibility was split between Dr. Roye and the hospital. Attorneys for the hospital say they plan on appealing the verdict.