Botched Surgery Results in $4.2 Million Medical Malpractice Verdict

Ava Lawson | July 31st, 2015

lawyer and jurorsA Connecticut man who suffered the effects of a botched surgery was awarded $4.2 million by a jury in New Haven this month. Fifty-eight-year old Gregory Leigh, who worked at PermaTreat Corporation in Durham, had sought medical treatment for a swollen lymph node in his neck.  Allegations leveled in his suit state that the plaintiff’s doctor, Daniel Schwartz, scheduled him for an unnecessary surgery without first performing diagnostic tests. Attorneys for Leigh claim that a routine test would have shown that Leigh was suffering from cat scratch disease, a self-limiting condition that usually resolves on its own.

During the procedure to remove Leigh’s lymph node, claims the suit, Dr. Schwartz damaged the plaintiff’s spinal accessory nerve, rendering his left shoulder practically useless. Leigh has since been diagnosed with nerve palsy and is unable to extend his left arm fully or raise it above his head. Jurors handed down their medical malpractice verdict following a two and a half week trial, before Court Judge Robin Wilson.

Surgery errors leaves victim with nerve damage

Prior to the surgery, Leigh had been employed as a laborer at the Durham-based company that sells lumber products. Given his current condition and shoulder impairment, Leigh can now only complete tasks that only require one arm.

“Besides misdiagnosing Gregory’s case entirely, the surgeon in this case botched the surgery, leaving Gregory permanently damaged,” said the plaintiff’s counsel in a statement.

Cat scratch disease, also known as cat scratch fever, is caused by a bacterial infection spread through felines. Leigh had recently been scratched by a cat on his farm, where he commonly takes in abandoned and stray animals. The resulting bacterial infection was the underlying cause of his swollen lymph node.

Particularly poignant in this medical malpractice lawsuit is that the plaintiff’s injuries were totally preventable, had the doctor carried out routine tests to determine potential causes for the swollen node. Arguments such as these are common in litigation involving medical misdiagnosis, which may form the basis for legal action.

Medical professionals are often criticized for practicing defensive medicine in order to avoid potential lawsuits, but in this scenario the decision for immediate surgery was made without discussing other treatment options with the patient.

Health care professionals owe a duty to their patients to run diagnostic tests that accurately pinpoint the cause of illness or injury. When this duty is breached, and unnecessary treatment is given, patients may experience adverse outcomes, life-altering complications and even death.

Filing a misdiagnosis lawsuit in New York

Surgical errors and medical misdiagnoses have the ability to completely upend lives. Gregory Leigh, like dozens of other victims, must now face of life of permanent disability. The Sanders Firm believes that patients injured because of medical negligence deserve to be compensated justly. For almost five decades, our firm has been on the front lines of misdiagnosis litigation in New York, successfully recovering millions of dollars for our clients.

To discuss your case and the possibility of filing a NY medical malpractice lawsuit, please contact us toll-free. Through thorough investigations, our lawyers can identify liable parties and help the innocent move on with their lives with the financial compensation they deserve. Call 1-800-FAIR-PLAY to arrange you free consultation today.


  1. New Haven Register, Wallingford man gets $4.2 million in medical malpractice case http://www.nhregister.com/general-news/20150701/wallingford-man-gets-42-million-in-medical-malpractice-case

  2. Radiopaedia.org, Spinal accessory nerve http://radiopaedia.org/articles/spinal-accessory-nerve