A Story of Change

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Weber v. New York Columbia Presbyterian Hospital:
A story of change
Lesa Gray
National American University

Abstract
In this paper we will review the medical malpractice case filed with the Brooklyn Supreme Court, Weber v. New York Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. I will discuss how this case is more than a medical malpractice case, that it is a case about change and how one father vows to change the way health care is carried out. I will also discuss the possible outcomes in this emotional case, as well as predicting the likely verdict in favor of the plaintiffs.

Weber v. New York Columbia Presbyterian Hospital:
A Story of Change
Case/Issue Summary
Damon Weber was an energetic, likable young man whose life ended at the young age of sixteen as a result of what his father, Mr. Weber, believes was a deviation from the expected standard of care at the hand of physicians at the New York Columbia Presbyterian Hospital (Weichselbaum, 2012). As a result, Mr. Weber filed a medical malpractice suit on behalf of Damon against New York Columbia Presbyterian Hospital and the medical director of pediatric heart transplants, Dr. Mason. The case is currently being heard in the Brooklyn Supreme Court. We will take a look at the issues and parties affected in this case as well as the stakeholders involved. When the case is reviewed we will see how this is not just another medical malpractice case of wrongful death. This is a story of change and how one father takes on the “fiefdom” (Weber, 2012) of a world-renowned metropolitan hospital to vindicate the death of his eldest son. Damon was born with a congenital heart defect where only one ventricle of the heart was formed and doctors at the New York Columbia Presbyterian Hospital performed a life-saving “radical operation known as a Fontan procedure” (Brown, 2012). The procedure was performed in an effort to improve oxygenated blood flow to Damon’s heart. As a result of this procedure, Damon developed a common secondary illness called protein-losing enteropathy (PLE) which ultimately led to a heart transplant (Brown, 2012). The deviation from the expected standard of care in this case occurred in the days and weeks leading up to, and following the heart transplant. The most significant element in this case is negligence based on the claim that Damon’s physicians failed to diagnose a post-transfusion infection, and rather diagnosed a post-transfusion rejection which delayed treatment of the fatal infection (Weichselbaum, 2012). Another key element in Mr. Weber’s claim is related to the proposed greed of physicians and soliciting of heart transplant patients at New York Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. Brown reminds us that “heart transplants represent big money for hospitals: at half a million dollars each, twenty pediatric transplant operations a year make a significant contribution to the finances of the New York Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center,” (Brown, 2012). As Damon’s father, Mr. Weber, points out in an interview with Weichselbaum (2012), “The health care system is no longer about patients. It’s about the bottom line…They didn’t provide my son the standard of care. And now he is dead”. The atrocities in this case do not end with greed, however. Mr. Weber will now have to prove that gross medical negligence resulted in the mismanagement of Damon’s health care. Some of these atrocities include Mr. Weber’s accusations of Damon being “casually “listed” as a potential heart recipient — meaning he has to be ready to receive a new heart at a moment’s notice — without his father’s knowledge” (Brown, 2012). Adding insult to injury, after the casual placement on the transplant list, several of the doctors involved in Damon’s care disappeared for weeks. This certainly caused a significant delay in obtaining a transplant for which Damon should have been at the top of the list. Other points that Mr. Weber will try to prove are attempts by the...
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