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Jury awards $13.5M to Army veteran in medical-malpractice case

By Journal Staff


WATERTOWN — A Jefferson County Supreme Court jury recently awarded more than $13.5 million to a 50-year-old Army veteran, Jeffrey Lewis, and his wife.

The jury found that Lewis, an Army reservist formerly stationed at Fort Drum, suffered an above-the-knee amputation because of Samaritan Medical Center’s failure to diagnose an arterial clot in his right leg, according to a news release from the Syracuse–based law firm of Porter Nordby Howe LLP. 

Michael Porter

As a result of the leg amputation, Lewis now requires a wheelchair and suffers from significant permanent physical and emotional pain. He was also forced into medical retirement from the U.S. Army, and his amputation has compromised his ability to work and provide for his family. The jury found that he has endured extensive pain and suffering over the past seven years, and that his amputation will impact his ability to enjoy life, per the release. The couple was represented by attorney Michael Porter of Porter Nordby Howe. 

The jury awarded more than $13.5 million for economic damages for lost wages and past and future medical expenses, plus an additional $10 million in pain-and-suffering damages. The law firm said this is believed to be the largest medical-malpractice judgment in Jefferson County history.

“The medical providers failed to obtain a complete history and order appropriate tests that would have led to a timely diagnosis, when Jeff’s leg could have been saved,” said Porter. “This jury’s award will not give Jeff his leg back, but it will provide some financial stability to his family, enable Jeff to better cope with this permanently debilitating injury and ensure that he receives the quality of medical care he will need for the remainder of his life.”

The trial lasted six days, and a jury of four women and two men deliberated for less than three hours before reaching their verdict, the law firm said.

Porter Nordby Howe has offices in Albany, Buffalo, Rochester, and New York City, in addition to Syracuse. The law firm’s cases included medical malpractice, construction-site accidents, car/truck collisions, defective products, and other instances of negligence. 

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