Madison couple wins $2.1 million in medical malpractice case

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by Walt Platteborze
New Haven Register

December 9, 2003

MADISON — A Superior Court jury has awarded a town woman and her husband $2.1 million in a medical malpractice case involving the diagnosis and treatment of a stroke her lawyer says left the woman with permanent paralysis.

The verdict was rendered Friday in Waterbury in favor of Mary Susan Wordell, 52, and her husband, Paul.

The Wordells had brought suit against Dr. Carl J. Boland, a neurologist, and the medical group with which he is affiliated, Cross County Neurology. Boland and Cross County have offices in Middletown and Old Saybrook.

Through their lawyer, Kathleen Nastri, of the Bridgeport firm Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder, the Wordells contended that Boland failed to diagnose the cause of a stroke that Susan Wordell had suffered in 1997 and get her the treatment necessary to avoid a more serious stroke that occurred in 1998.

Nastri said that Boland correctly determined that his patient had suffered a stroke, but then ruled out only three of four potential causes of the stroke.

"He did not rule out carotid artery disease, and she received no treatment for it, and in 1998 had a major stroke," Nastri said. Had blockage of the carotid artery, which supplies blood to the brain, been diagnosed "through a simple test," her client could have had surgery to relieve the blockage and prevent the second stroke, she said.

In the lawsuit, the Wordells claimed that Mary Wordell had suffered "left-sided paralysis" and limited use of upper and lower extremities, cognitive impairment, memory loss and motor-skills impairment. The suit said she has a limited ability to move about and is unable to live independently.

Robert Kiley of the Hartford law firm Danaher, Tedford, Lagnese & Neal represented Boland and Cross County Neurology in the lawsuit. Kiley could not be reached Monday for comment on the jury award.

The jury awarded $1.9 million to Susan Wordell for alleged negligence and such factors as the cost of her continuing care as a result of the stroke, and $200,000 to her husband for deprivation of companionship, Nastri said.

The couple in 2001 had offered to settle the case for $1 million with the defendants’ insurance carrier, Connecticut Medical Insurance Co., but received no response, Nastri said.