This article is about a lawsuit that was directed against the estate of Dr. Sidney A. Hollin, a neurosurgeon operating out of Mt. Sinai Hospital in NYC alleging medical malpractice and wrongful death. Before reviewing the legal proceedings read the article and review the medical records at www.drsidneyhollin.com if you haven’t already done so. The activities described herein refer to events that occurred between 1984 and 1991.
The medical and legal documents can be reviewed at any time by clicking on the 3-dot drop down Menu at the top of the website. If you click on a link in the drop down menu the document will open up in the same window as the website. You can then use the browser back arrow to go back to the website. Alternatively you could right click on a document link and then select ‘Open link in new tab’ and it will open in a new tab instead of the website page. Active links to the documents in the write-up open in a new window. The documents are in pdf format so you will need Adobe Reader loaded on your computer to read them.
Only the critical documents that explain the primary legal arguments in the case have been included.
On March 18, 1984 my wife Phyllis lapsed into a coma due to a massive cerebral hemorrhage. The next day I called Dr. Hollin but his secretary informed me that he had just died 5 days earlier from cancer on March 14, 1984 so she sent me a copy of Phyllis’ medical records. A neurologist friend of the family reviewed the medical records and advised me that he suspected medical malpractice and he then referred me to the law firm of Fuchsberg & Fuchsberg. Before calling Fuchsberg I called my personal attorney Mr. Marvin Moskowitz. Mr. Moskowitz was out of town at the time so I called up Fuchsberg & Fuchsberg and they agreed to see me the following day. At the appointment I met with Abe Fuchsberg, Preston J. Douglas and Bernard Turkewitz. I explained the situation to them and they agreed to take the case and have an autopsy performed at their expense when Phyllis passed away.
A few days later Mr. Moskowitz called and I explained that the services of Fuchsberg & Fuchsberg had been retained. Mr. Moskowitz called up Abe Fuchsberg and without my permission demanded a fee sharing arrangement. Abe Fuchsberg refused him and Mr. Moskowitz called me back and suggested that I come into his office to discuss the matter. The next day I met with Mr. Moskowitz and he told me that it would be to my advantage to have him spearhead the case as he would protect my rights in the matter. I told him that Abe Fuchsberg guaranteed that he would have the autopsy performed at his expense. Mr. Moskowitz told me that any law firm in the field of medical malpractice could have an autopsy performed and he had a retainer agreement already prepared. Since I knew Mr. Moskowitz and was under extreme emotional duress I signed the agreement.
Mr. Moskowitz then brought me to the law firm of Pulvers & Thompson who agreed to take the case and have the autopsy performed. Mr. Moskowitz signed the retainer agreement with them. At around noon on April 5, 1984 I received a call from Mr. Moskowitz that Pulvers & Thompson dropped the case because they spoke to a neurologist they knew who claimed that even if the muslin didn’t hold on the smaller aneurysm it did not constitute medical malpractice. Apparently the neurologist was unaware that the smaller aneurysm was a berry aneurysm that should have been clipped and that after 8.5 years there was no muslin as it had become fully incorporated into the arterial wall. He also did not address the issue of follow-up care since he didn’t have all the medical records and did not know what the cause of death was. Pulvers & Thompson didn’t bother calling the neurologist who tipped me off that the smaller aneurysm should have been clipped and that Phyllis should have been angiogrammed prior to advising pregnancy.
It turns out that Mr. Moskowitz in his retainer agreement with Pulvers & Thompson did not lock them into having the autopsy performed. Approximately 3 hours later I received a call from St. John’s Hospital that Phyllis had passed away. I then had to make arrangements for the autopsy to be performed at my own expense as Mr. Moskowitz did not offer to pay for it and I didn’t have time to argue with him about it. I thumbed through the yellow pages and found Albert Einstein Medical College. I spoke to Dr. Boyce Bennett the head of pathology at the hospital and he agreed to perform the autopsy for $750.
Mr. Moskowitz then brought me to the law firm of Friedman & Eisenstein. Ted Friedman was a well known medical malpractice attorney and I met with his partner Jethro Eisenstein and he agreed to take the case. The autopsy results came in on May 9 and Mr. Eisenstein obtained the medical records from Mt. Sinai Hospital, North Shore Hospital, and IDS Life Insurance Company.
On August 2, 1985 a summons and complaint alleging medical malpractice and wrongful death was filed against Dr. Hollin’s wife who was the executrix of Dr. Hollin’s estate. Some time after that Ted Friedman and Jethro Eisenstein parted ways as Mr. Friedman was in the process of being disbarred due to alleged unethical conduct. My case of course went to Ted Friedman’s office. For approximately 2 years Mr. Friedman did nothing to prosecute the case. I finally had enough and called up Fuchsberg & Fuchsberg without Mr. Moskowitz’s intervention and they agreed to take the case back if I would pay a $2,000. fee for an expert witness to review the case. I agreed to do so and the case was brought back to their office. Preston J. Douglas was the attorney who handled the case.
As an interesting note, after Fuchsberg & Fuchsberg was dropped from the case they sued me for $2,000. claiming they did 4 hours of work on it. It turns out that they had every right to do so and Mr. Moskowitz did not advise me that they were entitled to compensation for any work that had already been done. Mr. Eisenstein called up Abe Fuchsberg and explained to him that the lawsuit was in extremely bad taste and convinced him to drop it.
PROSECUTION OF THE CASE
On August 2, 1985 the summons and complaint was filed by Jethro Eisenstein against the estate of Dr. Hollin alleging medical malpractice and wrongful death. The law firm representing Dr. Hollin’s estate was Martin, Clearwater & Bell and they filed their reply denying the allegations. Martin, Clearwater & Bell then requested a change of venue to Nassau County as the summons had been issued in NY County and Dr. Hollin’s estate was located in Nassau County. Mr. Eisenstein was unaware that the change of venue motion had been made because the attorney for Dr. Hollin’s estate had mixed the motion in with some other legal documents that were served on Mr. Eisenstein’s office and he apparently didn’t carefully read them. Since the motion went unopposed the judge summarily granted it.
Upon receiving notice that the motion was granted, Mr. Eisenstein then discovered the original motion paper in his legal file and complained to the judge regarding how the document was mixed in with other legal papers. The judge essentially chewed him out and explained that it was the attorney’s responsibility to carefully read every legal document that was served on his office. The judge also said that since the estate was in Nassau County, Nassau was the appropriate venue irregardless of Mr. Eisenstein’s failure to oppose the change of venue motion.
Mr. Eisenstein refused to file lawsuits against Drs. Klein, Wancier and Mt. Sinai Hospital due to the fact that the surgery was 8.5 years prior. Both he and Mr. Moskowitz were fully aware that Dr. Haroupian described the operation as a time bomb that directly cause Phyllis’ death, that Dr. Hollin had concealed the existence of the smaller aneurysm from Phyllis and her parents and that Dr. Klein had falsified 2 medical reports in an obvious attempt to cover up the fact that the surgeons wrapped an aneurysm that should have been clipped. That is, obvious to anyone who has half an ounce of common sense but my experience is that plaintiff’s attorneys have absolutely no common sense whatsoever.
Martin, Clearwater & Bell then submitted a request for a Bill of Particulars outlining the alleged malpractice and potential financial damages. Mr. Eisenstein filled out the Bill of Particulars and sent it to them. Since Dr. Hollin falsified his patient journal that he submitted to IDS Life Insurance Company to say ‘advise ct scan’ and that falsification was done in the last 2.5 years, then according to Mr. Eisenstein that was the entire extent of the malpractice. In other words Dr. Hollin should have had a ct scan performed prior to telling my wife it was safe to become pregnant. Mr. Eisenstein did not question the surgery because he did not discover the consultant’s report in the Mt. Sinai Medical file even though he was the attorney that originally requested the medical records from the hospital. It appears that not reading legal and medical records served on his office is an on-going pattern of behavior for this attorney. This was the last legal action performed by Mr. Eisenstein as he and his partner Ted Friedman split up and the case went to Ted Friedman’s office.
Around December, 1988 I gave Preston J. Douglas, Esq. a check for $2,000. payable to Fuchsberg & Fuchsberg for the expert witness fee and signed a retainer agreement. Mr. Douglas informed me that his daughter was taking dancing lessons from Dr. Hollin’s wife who ran a dancing school on Long Island but this would not affect the prosecution of the case. He then obtained the medical records from Ted Friedman’s office and also obtained Phyllis’ medical records from Booth Memorial Hospital. At the end of 1990 Dr. Hollin’s attorney Kathy M. Beck called me in for a deposition. I have not posted a copy of my 60 page deposition on this website because the only relevant facts that were obtained from it was that Phyllis hadn’t been for an office check up with Dr. Hollin since June 10, 1981, 2 years and 10 months prior to her death and that as far as I knew she did not have any further appointments scheduled with him. Mr. Douglas was aware of this fact from the very first day he took over the case since June 10, 1981 was the last appointment date on Dr. Hollin’s checkup sheet. After the deposition Ms. Beck made a motion for summary dismissal of the case due to the expiration of the statute of limitations on the continuous treatment doctrine.
In the State of NY when a doctor commits medical malpractice due to ordinary negligence, if the patient has not seen the doctor within 2.5 years the lawsuit is time barred. Mr. Douglas formulated his affirmation reply and my affirmation reply. He argued the case based upon continuous treatment and attempted to create a statue of limitations by involving consultations Dr. Hollin had with Phyllis’ family doctor and obstetrician that were within the 2.5 year period. The only medical records that Mr. Douglas presented to the judge were Dr. Hollin’s original patient journal, Dr. Hollin’s falsified patient journal that he submitted to IDS Life Insurance Company and a prescription for clinoril written by Dr. Papier the family doctor. He did not cite any case law in his arguments. Ms. Beck filed a reply affirmation to dismiss the case and on May 23, 1991 the case was summarily dismissed by Judge John S. Lockman since Phyllis hadn’t seen Dr. Hollin within the 2.5 year time frame. I specifically asked Mr. Douglas if the statute of limitations could be tolled since Dr. Hollin lied to Phyllis and her other doctors for 8.5 years about her diagnosis and treatment but I was told that it could not. This is reflected in the manner in which Mr. Douglas prepared his legal arguments as every document and event that happened prior to the last 2.5 years was completely ignored.
In the State of NY the statute of limitations can be tolled in a medical malpractice lawsuit when the doctor engages in fraudulent concealment of the fact that he injured the patient in order to prevent a timely medical malpractice action. It is called equitable estoppel but in order to have the statute of limitations tolled it must be clearly stated that it should be tolled and the evidence demonstrating the fraudulent and malicious conduct has to be presented to the judge.
Following is an excerpt from the 1990 edition of the 550 page reference book ‘The Preparation And Trial Of Medical Malpractice Cases’ by Richard E. Shandell and Patricia Smith. Since the lawsuit against Dr. Hollin was filed in 1985 and dismissed in 1991, the following law clearly applied at the time this case was pending.
“Tolling rules due to fraudulent concealment (or equitable estoppel as it is known in New York) have the jurisdictions allow the tolling of the statutory period when the physician fraudulently conceals the cause of action. The doctrine of fraudulent concealment is closely related to the discovery rule, in that it allows a plaintiff to extend the statute of limitations by showing that the physicians fraudulent conduct prevented the patient from discovering his or her malpractice claim earlier. Fraudulent concealment can also constitute an actionable tort…
In order to use fraudulent concealment to avoid a claim of limitations, affirmative acts of concealment are generally required. Mere non-disclosure will not suffice to establish fraudulent concealment. Furthermore the plaintiff must show that he or she exercised diligence to discover the cause of action…
It is becoming increasingly clear, however, at least where the physician knows he has injured the patient and fails to reveal this to the patient, he is estopped from pleading the statute of limitations. Several jurisdictions have found a duty on the part of the physician to disclose the pertinent facts due to the fiduciary relationship between patient and physician, and thereby have found fraudulent concealment even without affirmative acts of concealment.
A defendant may be equitably estopped from asserting the statue of limitations where ‘either by false statements of fact… or by active concealment of the true facts’, he prevents a plaintiff from commencing an action within the statue of limitations. Estoppel may be based upon actual misrepresentation or concealment”.
Even by the strictest interpretation of this law the case against Dr. Hollin clearly should have been allowed to proceed to trial and additional claims of fraudulent concealment should have been appended to the lawsuit. Not only did Dr. Hollin engage in fraud, misrepresentation and concealment of the actual diagnosis, he performed a surgical procedure that is designed to make the condition worse and result in the death of the patient many years later. He and his associate Dr. Klein then falsified every document necessary to conceal what was done to the patient so that not even other Mt. Sinai Hospital personnel would discover in a timely manner what they were up to.
Dr. Hollin not only lied to the patient but he also lied to the hospital consultant, the obstetrician, the family doctor and the life insurance company. All of these misrepresentations are fully documented in writing. He also had to have lied to Dr. Antin the neuroradiologist and Dr. Karlan the referring neurologist. Not only did Dr. Hollin do everything in his power to prevent the patient from finding out the true diagnosis and seeking corrective treatment, he did everything he possibly could in order to make the condition worse and accelerate the demise of his patient. Phyllis made specific attempts to discover the malpractice as she complained to Dr. Hollin that she had a weak right eye and pains in her neck. There could not be a clearer medical malpractice case on record where equitable estoppel should have been demanded and applied.
Mr. Douglas presented Dr. Hollin’s falsified patient journal with the claim that he did not know when it was altered. Dr. Hollin prepared the document for IDS Life Insurance Company on December 13, 1982 as that is the day he signed and dated the patient information form that he submitted to the insurance company along with his operative report and falsified journal. The document is marked ‘Paid’ 12/20/82 and initialed by a representative of the insurance company. Aside from the fact that this document clearly dates Dr. Hollin’s falsified check-up sheet, the implication of Mr. Douglas’ statement is that life insurance companies do not keep accurate records of when doctors submit medical records. Clearly a representative from IDS Life Insurance Company should have been deposed and asked about the document. It appears that Mr. Douglas is not knowledgeable of the basic business practices of life insurance companies.
Mr. Douglas also claims that Dr. Hollin falsified his patient journal because he felt guilty. After lying to the patient about the diagnosis, intentionally time bombing the operation, lying to the hospital consultant, lying to the family doctor and lying to the obstetrician as recently as a few weeks earlier, the notion that Dr. Hollin suddenly felt guilty is utterly ridiculous. Since Dr. Hollin wrote the symptoms of the growing aneurysm down at the June 10, 1981 checkup, by stating he advised a ct scan he implied that he was providing legitimate therapy based upon the patient’s symptoms. It also implied that a ct scan may have been performed and everything checked out. It turns out that Dr. Hollin fooled the insurance company because they issued the policy unrated. Little did they know that at the time the policy was issued Phyllis had a giant berry aneurysm on her right internal carotid artery. After Phyllis’ death I spoke to the claims examiner and she told me that since it was so many years after the operation they assumed Phyllis had to be cured. That is exactly what the entire family and Phyllis’ other doctors thought. Dr. Hollin however knew quite differently.
Mr. Douglas wrote in his final arguments that Dr. Hollin reassured Dr. Bresnick the obstetrician that Phyllis did not require further treatment or follow-up care for the aneurysms either before or after the pregnancy. Dr. Hollin outright lied to Dr. Bresnick as is confirmed by his notes that state a berry aneurysm was resected in 1977 and the patient was showing no further symptoms from it. His notes do not say that the surgery was actually in 1975, that a second aneurysm was wrapped with muslin or that the patient had a weak right eye and neck pans at her last visit with Dr. Hollin. There is no deposition on file for Dr. Bresnick as none was taken.
Mr. Douglas was apparently unaware of the existence of the Mt. Sinai Hospital Consultant’s Report whereby Dr. Hollin told the consultant immediately after the surgery that both aneurysms had been clipped. The angiogram was unavailable as it had been routinely destroyed by the hospital after 7 years so this report was the most important document in the entire patient file because it conclusively proved that the smaller aneurysm should have been clipped and that Dr. Hollin lied to the consultant in order to cover up what he had just done to Phyllis during the surgery. Towards the end of 2007 I decided to read every document in the medical files and that report was the 23rd document in the Mt. Sinai patient file. This report was no known to exist at the time the case was pending.
Mr. Douglas claims in my reply affirmation that I found out later on that Phyllis had 2 aneurysms each of which was repaired using 2 different methods. I found that information out 8.5 years after the operation when Phyllis was in a coma at St. John’s Hospital and it is obvious that the only reason it was found out is because Dr. Hollin was dead at the time of my call. Wrapping muslin around a berry aneurysm does not repair it as Mr. Douglas states. In fact it preserves it and delays its growth on the artery and is a direct violation of accepted medical practice. Unless the neck of the aneurysm is clipped the bubble is still on the artery. That’s why Dr. Hollin had to tell the consultant he clipped the smaller aneurysm since at the time of the surgery there was no other procedure that was used to treat berry aneurysms. It was also obvious from the angiogram that the aneurysm was supposed to clipped.
Based upon the available information, the following is a reconstruction of everything Mr. Douglas and the law firm of Fuchsberg & Fuchsberg did in this case:
1) He accepted a check from me for $2,000. payable to Fuchsberg & Fuchsberg in order to retain the services of an expert witness and met with me to discuss the case
2) He received the Mt. Sinai Hospital, North Shore Hospital and IDS Life Insurance Company medical records from Ted Friedman’s office
3) He obtained the medical records from Booth Memorial Hospital
4) Fuchsberg & Fuchsberg paid Friedman & Eisenstein $1,137.91 for various expenses in order to take over the case
5) He retained the services of an expert witness but provided him incomplete medical records as the expert was not provided with the Mt. Sinai Hospital Consultant’s Report
6) He filed some legal paperwork that Friedman & Eisenstein failed to file
7) I believe he attended a meeting with the Judge and opposing attorney
8) He attended my deposition that was requested by Dr. Hollin’s attorneys, Martin, Clearwater & Bell
10) Upon receiving the summary judgment dismissing the suit Fuchsberg & Fuchsberg promptly dropped the case
In reading Mr. Douglas’ final arguments it is clear that he did none of the following and in my opinion all of the following should have been done:
1) He did not read the Mt. Sinai Patient file and locate the Mt. Sinai Hospital Consultant’s Report that was written in the ficu (female intensive care unit) after the surgery and that stated both aneurysms were clipped. Every record in the patient file should have been carefully read.
2) He did not depose a single witness in the case (Note: Even though Dr. Hollin was dead, testimony from the individuals listed below regarding conversations they had with Dr. Hollin were fully admissible as evidence. The dead man’s statute regarding inadmissible testimony from a deceased persons only applies to testimony from interested parties in the lawsuit which these individuals clearly are not.
a) He did not depose the Hospital Consultant and ask him where he got the information after the surgery that both aneurysms were clipped. He should have also been asked if he had access to the angiogram and if it was determined in advance of the operation that both aneurysms were supposed to be clipped.
b) He did not depose Dr. Antin the neuroradiologist. Dr. Antin should have been deposed and asked based upon the pre-operative diagnosis of 2 aneurysms what the proper surgical procedure should have been. Even though Dr. Antin was not a neurosurgeon he had enough expertise in the field to offer a credible opinion. He had to have discussed with Dr. Hollin both prior to and after the surgery the fact that both aneurysms were going to be clipped. Standard procedure is to re-angiogram the patient 4 days after the operation to make sure both aneurysms were obliterated. That was not done in this case and in all likelihood Dr. Hollin told Dr. Antin post-surgery that since he used the operating microscope he was certain that he had clipped the necks of both aneurysms and that a re-angiogram was not necessary.
c) He did not depose Dr. Klein the Mt. Sinai resident surgeon who took part in the operation. Dr. Klein should have been deposed and asked why his hand written notes list both aneurysms as a pre-operative diagnosis but his dictated medical report states the smaller aneurysm was discovered during the surgery. Dr. Klein should have been asked why his patient discharge sheet does not mention the smaller aneurysm or the fact that it was wrapped in muslin. Dr. Klein should have been asked why the smaller aneurysm wasn’t clipped and why the consultant was told after the operation that it was clipped. Under proper questioning Dr. Klein would have been forced to admit that the smaller aneurysm was supposed to be clipped.
d) He did not depose Dr. Wancier the Mt. Sinai intern who also took part in the operation. Dr. Wancier should have been deposed and asked why the smaller aneurysm wasn’t clipped and why the consultant was told after the operation that it was clipped. Under proper questioning Dr. Wancier would have been forced to admit that the smaller aneurysm was supposed to be clipped.
e) He did not depose Dr. Karlan the referring neurologist who administered an EEG at the request of Dr. Hollin. Dr. Karlan should have been deposed and asked what he was told by Dr. Hollin that the actual diagnosis and treatment rendered at Mt. Sinai Hospital was.
f) He did not depose Dr. Bresnick the obstetrician. Dr. Bresnick should have been deposed and asked what he was told by Dr. Hollin that the actual diagnosis and treatment was. Dr. Bresnick’s notes state that Dr. Hollin told him that a berry aneurysm was resected and the patient was showing no further symptoms from it. His notes also state the surgery was in 1977 when it was actually in 1975.
g) He did not depose Dr. Papier the family doctor. Dr. Papier should have been deposed and asked what Dr. Hollin told him that the actual diagnosis and treatment rendered at Mt. Sinai Hospital was. He should have also been asked why he wound up prescribing clinoril, an arthritis medication, when Phyllis went to see him post-pregnancy about pains she was experiencing in her neck and right arm.
h) He did not depose a representative from IDS Life Insurance Company. A representative should have been deposed to discuss Dr. Hollin’s alteration to his office records where he wrote in that he advised a ct scan a year and a half prior to submitting his documents to the insurance company.
i) He did not depose Dr. Haroupian the neuropathologist. Dr. Haroupian should have been deposed and asked to describe the net effect of Dr. Hollin’s operation.
j) He did not depose Phyllis’ parents who were with her at Mt. Sinai Hospital and Dr. Hollin’s office visits. Her parents should have been deposed and asked to describe what they were told by Doctor Hollin at the hospital and Phyllis’ office visits.
3) He did not provide any of the following documents to the judge:
a) He did not provide to the judge Dr. Antin’s Neuroradiology Report that lists 2 aneurysms as a pre-operative diagnosis
b) He did not provide to the judge the Mt. Sinai Hospital Patient Consent Form that lists the procedure to be performed as craniotomy and clipping of an intracranial aneurysm.
c) He did not provide to the judge Dr. Hollin’s Operative Report that lists the 2 aneurysms as a pre-operative diagnosis and where Dr. Hollin states he wrapped muslin around the smaller aneurysm and clipped the larger one.
d) He did not provide to the judge the Mt. Sinai Hospital Consultant’s Report that stated post-operatively both aneurysms were clipped.
e) He did not provide to the judge Dr. Klein’s Hand Written Notes that lists both aneurysms as a pre-operative diagnosis.
f) He did not provide to the judge Dr. Klein’s Transcribed Medical Report that states the smaller aneurysm was discovered during the operation and the intern’s last name was left out.
g) He did not provide to the judge Dr. Klein’s Patient Discharge Sheet that states the procedure that was performed was clipping of a single aneurysm.
h) He did not provide to the judge Dr. Bresnick’s Obstetrician Records that state he was told by Dr. Hollin that a single aneurysm was resected in 1977, the patient was showing no further symptoms from it and that Dr. Hollin agreed it was safe for her to undergo trial labor.
i) He did not provide to the judge the Albert Einstein Autopsy Report that states the cause of death was due to rupture of a giant berry aneurysm on Phyllis right internal carotid artery.
4) He did not explain any of the following details in his legal arguments to the judge:
a) He did not explain that Dr. Hollin concealed the existence of the smaller aneurysm from the patient and her family and that he lied to the patient and her family before the surgery by telling them that a single aneurysm was going to be clipped.
b) He did not explain that Dr. Hollin lied to the patient and her family after the surgery and for the next 8.5 years by telling them that the operation was a success and the patient was cured of the single aneurysm.
c) He did not explain that the smaller aneurysm should have been clipped and that Dr. Hollin lied to the hospital consultant after the operation by telling him he clipped it.
d) He did not explain that wrapping muslin around the smaller aneurysm is a willful violation of accepted medical practice whose only purpose is to leave the patient with with the aneurysm in order to slowly make the condition worse.
e) He did not explain that the operation is designed to create a single larger aneurysm and that rupture of the concealed, wrapped aneurysm is what caused Phyllis’ death.
f) He did not explain that Dr. Klein falsified his medical report in order to conceal the fact that the surgeons wrapped muslin around an aneurysm that was supposed to be clipped and that he tried to protect the intern intern, Dr. Wancier, by leaving out his last name.
g) He did not explain that Dr. Klein falsified the patient discharge sheet so that it would match up with the misrepresented patient consent form so that if any hospital personnel looked to see what procedure the patient consented to and was then discharged for the 2 documents would match up.
h) He did not explain that Dr. Hollin lied to the obstetrician 7 years after the operation by telling him a single aneurysm had been resected in 1977 and the patient was showing no symptoms from it in order to conceal the existence of the growing aneurysm from the obstetrician.
i) He did not explain that by advising Phyllis it was safe for her to become pregnant Dr. Hollin was intending to make the condition much worse and significantly increase the chance of the aneurysm rupturing during labor.
j) He did not explain that Dr. Hollin falsified his check up sheet to the insurance company by writing in ‘advise ct scan’ 7 years after the operation in order to make it look like he was providing legitimate follow-up therapy.
k) He did not explain that Dr. Hollin falsified his checkup sheet by stating that he prescribed mysoline in 1977 when he actually prescribed it in 1981 in order to conceal the fact that he was prescribing such a powerful seizure medication so many years after the surgery.
l) He did not explain that Dr. Hollin lied to the family doctor 7 years after the operation by telling him that pains in Phyllis’ neck and right arm had nothing to do with the surgery and were from arthritis in order to prevent Phyllis from seeking corrective medical treatment.
m) He did not provide a set by step summary outlining every fraudulent and malicious act performed by Dr. Hollin.
n) He did not explain that the intentional malpractice started at Mt. Sinai Hospital and that Dr. Hollin kept it going for 8.5 years until his death.
o) He did not explain that when Phyllis lapsed into a coma, Dr. Hollin was called and if he were alive standard procedure would have dictated that he send Phyllis back to Mt. Sinai Hospital where the entire affair would have been covered up by Dr. Hollin and his associates.
p) He did not explain that since Dr. Hollin knew about the 2 aneurysms in advance of the operation he was pre-meditated in his actions.
q) He did not explain that Dr. Hollin performed a minimum of 9 distinct affirmative fraudulent and malicious acts designed to cause the death of Phyllis and conceal what he had done to her.
r) He did not argue that the statute of limitations should be tolled under the legal doctrine of equitable estoppel since Dr. Hollin concealed the true diagnosis from the patient and her family, concealed the fact that he intentionally surgically mistreated the smaller aneurysm and concealed the fact that he knew his actions would lead to her death by doing so.
s) He did not state that Phyllis and her other doctors completely relied upon Dr. Hollin’s fraudulent and malicious assertion that Phyllis was cured of a single aneurysm and that she made several attempts to discover the malpractice by complaining to Dr. Hollin and her family doctor of a weak right eye and pains in the right side of her neck and arm.
s) He did not cite the landmark case of Simcuski v. Saeli (1978). In this case Dr. Saeli accidentally severed the patients nerve and then fraudulently concealed it from the patient. The patient did not discover the malpractice until 4 years later and the NYS Court of Appeals allowed the case to go to trial. In the Dr. Hollin case the patient hadn’t seen the surgeon in 2 years 10 months, considerably less than the 4 years in the Simcuski case.
t) He did not update the bill of particulars to include the surgery as part of the malpractice.
u) He did not file a lawsuit against Dr. Klein, Dr. Wancier or Mt. Sinai Hospital.
v) He did not make a motion to append the lawsuit against Dr. Hollin to include fraud and concealment as an additional tort claim.
Mr. Douglas’ legal arguments in this case are a complete farce as he turned a series of intentional and malicious acts that were perpetrated over an 8.5 year period into just another case of ordinary negligence. By not reading the patient file nor deposing the appropriate witnesses in order to ascertain all the facts, Mr. Douglas left open the possibility that critical documents might be uncovered at a future date thereby exposing his legal arguments as the fraudulent fabrication of the facts that they truly are.
In light of the fact that the Mt. Sinai Hospital Consultant was told immediately after the operation that both aneurysms had successfully been clipped, Mr. Douglas’ legal arguments make no sense whatsoever. Mr. Douglas incorrectly assumed that Dr. Hollin’s operation was legitimate neurosurgery even though the circumstantial evidence indicating that it wasn’t was overwhelming. Mr. Douglas was fully aware that Dr. Hollin concealed the existence of the smaller aneurysm from Phyllis and her family, that Dr. Hollin filed his operative report 10 months after the surgery without explaining why the smaller aneurysm wasn’t clipped, that Dr. Klein filed a falsified medical report and discharge sheet shortly after the operation and that according to Dr. Haroupian, the operation is a time bomb that caused the wrapped aneurysm to grow and rupture. None of this information is mentioned in Mr. Douglas’ final arguments.
Mr. Douglas’ legal arguments don’t even make sense based upon the medical records that he knew about. Plaintiff’s attorneys are supposed to present evidence in a way that benefits the plaintiff and damages the defendant. Mr. Douglas did the exact opposite. e.g. It’s not that Dr. Hollin lied to Phyllis and her family for 8.5 years by concealing the existence of the second aneurysm, it’s that I found out later on that he repaired 2 aneurysms. It’s not that Dr. Hollin intentionally surgically mistreated one of the aneurysms that then ruptured and resulted in Phyllis’ death, it’s that he repaired the aneurysms using 2 different methods. It’s not that Dr. Hollin falsified his patient journal in order to cover up what he was doing to the patient, it’s that he did it because he felt guilty. It’s not that Dr. Hollin lied to the obstetrician and family doctor, it’s that he reassured them that the aneurysms needed no further treatment etc, etc, etc. Mr. Douglas took a strong case of fraud and turned it into a weak case of ordinary negligence. Based upon the manner in which Mr. Douglas prepared and argued this case, it is apparent that he is a defendant biased plaintiff’s attorney.
An attorney is supposed to be wholly dedicated to his client’s position and not give any benefit of the doubt to the opposing party. If an attorney is not wholly dedicated to his client’s position for whatever reason he should drop the case immediately so the client can find an attorney that is dedicated to his legal position. Furthermore an attorney’s automatic reaction should be to come to the defense of his client. Preston J Douglas’ automatic reaction is to come to the defense of the defendant Dr. Hollin. A plaintiff’s attorney that engages in this type of distortion of the facts for the benefit of the defendant is a disaster waiting to happen and should be avoided at all costs.
Mr. Douglas apparently based his conclusions regarding the surgery on discussions he had with his expert witness. The only problem is Mr. Douglas provided the expert, whom I paid for of course, with incomplete medical records as he was not given a copy of the critical consultant’s report. Based upon the documentation that he was given, the expert was prepared to testify that it was the worst case of follow-up care he had ever seen but without the angiogram that the hospital routinely destroyed after 7 years he could not conclusively say the smaller aneurysm should have been clipped. He also said that he had never heard of another case of multiple berry aneurysms on the right internal carotid artery where any of the aneurysms were not clipped.
Aside from the fact that proof the smaller aneurysm was supposed to be clipped was contained in the medical records all along, there were 4 other doctors associated with the case that were aware of this fact but Mr. Douglas did not depose any of them. They are: Drs. Klein and Wancier, the other 2 neurosurgeons, Dr. Haroupian, the neuropathologist, and Dr. Antin, the neuroradiologist. Ironically the Mt. Sinai Doctors and Consultant would have been all the expert witnesses that Mr. Douglas needed as they would have testified that the smaller aneurysm was supposed to be clipped. Clearly Dr. Klein should have been deposed and confronted with his falsified medical records. The only individual that Mr. Douglas did confront in this case was me, the client, as anything I had to say about the case was immediately shot down by Mr. Douglas.
According to Mr. Douglas legal arguments, evidence indicating that doctors have lied to a patient and concealed the existence of a second aneurysm, have intentionally surgically mistreated it so that it ruptured and caused the death of the patient 8.5 years later, have lied to hospital personnel and the patient’s other doctors and have falsified hospital and medical records is irrelevant evidence that should not be presented to the court, but an arthritis prescription for clinoril that was written by Dr. Papier the family doctor was one of Mr. Douglas’ key pieces of evidence in the case. Perhaps it requires a medical malpractice attorney to understand the reasoning behind that move.
It should also be mentioned that Mr. Douglas didn’t even get a written report from the expert witness after the case was dismissed. So what do I have to show for my $2,000. expert witness fee? A copy of Mr. Douglas’ prescription-from-the-family-doctor legal arguments and a summary dismissal of the case.
It’s interesting to note that whereas great minds think alike, incompetent legal minds also think alike. Since Dr. Hollin falsified his ‘advise ct scan’ document within the last 2.5 years, then according to both Jethro Eisenstein and Preston J. Douglas, failure to have a ct scan performed at Phyllis’ last appointment constituted the entire malpractice. One would think that with a host of falsified documents to work with, red flags would be flying in the mind of a medical malpractice attorney that here is a case of fraudulent concealment of the doctors own malpractice. In this case the exact opposite happened. Every time another falsified document or outright misrepresentation was uncovered, it was either played down as business as usual or re-written to appear like ordinary negligence. I can only assume that these 2 attorneys believe that doctors falsifying medical records, lying to patients, lying to the patients other doctors and lying to hospital personnel is standard procedure in the medical profession. The only other explanation I can think of is that neither one of these attorneys has a clue as to what he is doing when it comes to prosecuting a medical malpractice case.