Jury awards woman $800K in malpractice case

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by James O'Keefe
Stamford Advocate

April 19, 2003

STAMFORD — A jury has awarded $810,000 in damages to an elderly city woman whose hip was shattered during a surgical procedure.

Beulah Post, 88, broke her leg during a fall in March 1998. Dr. Henry Rubenstein later broke the widow's hip while placing a steel rod in her leg to set the broken bone, said Post's attorney, Joshua Koskoff of Bridgeport.

"Instead of putting the rod down the middle of the bone, it was put in at angle and that shattered her hip," Koskoff said of the surgery Rubenstein performed at Stamford Hospital.

Post filed a malpractice lawsuit against Rubenstein in 1999 and the case went to trial last week in state Superior Court in Stamford. The trial ended Thursday when the six-member jury returned a verdict in Post's favor and awarded her $810,000.

"The whole experience was very traumatic and stressful for her. I think she is relieved and deeply appreciative of the jury system. They gave her respect and didn't dismiss her as just an old lady," Koskoff said.

Rubenstein's attorney, Gaileen Kaufman of Bridgeport, could not be reached for comment.

Koskoff said Post had to get further surgery by another doctor to repair the damage. But she suffered permanent damage and now uses a walker, the lawyer said.

"All the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put her back together again. She has a very difficult time ambulating," Koskoff said. "Before this happened, she was incredibly active. She owned two stores and was a volunteer at Stamford Hospital and the Jewish Community Center."

When Post underwent a second surgery on her hip, doctors found a portion of latex surgical glove that had been left behind during the original operation by Rubenstein, Koskoff said.

"We offered to settle this case for $500,000 because it was an obvious case of negligence," Koskoff said. "She is now 88 years old and could have used the money. But they didn't offer her a red cent."

Koskoff said he believes the doctor's insurance company was probably hoping that the elderly Post would pass away before the case was resolved. He said they did offer her a small settlement as the case was going to trial.

"If doctors have an issue with lawsuits, they ought to go after the insurance companies that are gouging them instead of not settling cases reasonably when they have the opportunity," Koskoff said.

Copyright © 2003, Southern Connecticut Newspapers, Inc