Jury Awards Family of West Nyack (NY) Man $820,000 in Medical Malpractice Death Case

The nine children of Howard R. Hoehmann Sr., a man who died while being treated for pneumonia at Nyack Hospital, have been awarded $820,000 in a malpractice lawsuit against two of the doctors who treated him.
According to court records, Hoehmann, a semi-retired construction contractor and real estate agent, was admitted to Nyack Hospital on April 12, 2000, for a mild case of pneumonia.

The antibiotics he was prescribed by his primary care doctors treated the pneumonia but caused a bowel infection. Drs. James S. Vela, and Stephan Goodman, specialists in gastroenterology, were called in to treat the infection.
Hoehmann’s condition worsened and he developed toxic megacolon, in which his colon was enlarged and infected. He died April 21, 2000.

The doctors, who intend to appeal, maintain the death of the 69-year-old patient was not related to the care and treatment they provided to him. 

The family’s attorney, said the doctors failed to do tests that would have revealed Mr. Hoehmann had developed colitis from the antibiotics and “missed every opportunity to diagnose and treat him."
The doctors, the family’s attorney said, "were negligent and careless in failing to treat and care for (Hoehmann) in accordance with accepted standards of medical care."

The jury awarded Hoehmann’s estate $750,000 for his pain and suffering and $70,000 for related damages and expenses.

"He didn’t have to die," said his son George. "If he had gotten proper care, he wouldn’t have died. It’s a just verdict. My father died an awful, awful death."

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