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NY Daily News - EXCLUSIVE: Landscaper awarded $4M in medical misdiagnosis case

Robert Wyble was told by Dr. Dale Lange, now chief neurologist at the Hospital for Special Surgery, that he had myasthenia gravis — which led to chest surgery to take out his thymus, blood treatments and medication that caused him to put on 80 pounds. His health-damaging ordeal gave him hypertension and was for nothing. He did not have the condition.

Monday, April 14, 2014, 4:00 AM

 

withclientmisdiagnosis An upstate man has been awarded almost $4 million after a top neurologist had him undergo four years of agonizing treatments for a condition he didn’t have, the Daily News has learned.

Robert Wyble, 42, of Pine Island, Orange County, says he had his chest sawed open to remove his thymus gland, underwent biweekly blood treatments and was put on medication that caused him to gain 80 pounds and get hypertension — all because he’d been misdiagnosed as having a potentially fatal condition, myasthenia gravis.

Read more: NY Daily News


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Jury Verdict of $4,783,703 for Misdiagnosis

Manhattan Jury Awards $4,873,703 to 52 year old landscaper, Robert Wyble, and his wife, Zaida Wyble, against Dr. Dale Lange, Chief of Neurology at Hospital for Special Surgery for wrong diagnosis of Myasthenia Gravis. Richard Gurfein tried the Wyble's case in Supreme Court, New York County and took the verdict on March 18, 2014.

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Mr. Wyble was referred to Dr. Lange in May of 2005 for complaints of falling down without reason and being able to get right back up as though nothing had happened.  Dr. Lange ordered blood tests and a CT scan of Mr. Wyble’s chest, but all the tests were negative.  Nevertheless, Dr. Lange told Mr. Wyble he had Myasthenia Gravis.  This disease of neuromuscular transmission occurs when the body’s own immune system attacks the receptor cells of the muscle and prevents the muscle from getting the signal from the brain to contract or relax.

Dr. Lange started treatment for Myasthenia Gravis in July of 2005 with medication.  By the fall of 2006 he recommended a thymectomy.  The Thymus gland is involved in the body’s immune system.  In the first dozen years of life it seeds cells throughout the body that will produce antibodies to fight off infection throughout life.  After that time it starts to atrophy and ceases to function.  In Myasthenia Gravis, it is believed the Thymus gland reactivates and starts producing these antibodies that attack the receptor cells of the muscles.  Another way the Thymus gland is involved in Myasthenia Gravis is when the Thymus gland develops a tumor.  Testing on Mr. Wyble never found any antibodies or any tumor of thymus gland.

The Thymectomy was done in January 2007.  The surgeon sawed through the breast bone and removed the remnants of the thymus as well as fat.  Then wired the breast bone back together in the same way they do for open heart surgery.  Following the thymectomy Mr. Wyble’s medications were increased.  He was also put on Prednisone and in September, 2007 he was started on biweekly plasma exchanges.  This went on for another two years until Dr. Lange left Mt. Sinai Hospital without telling his patient. Mr. Wyble then found another neurologist, Dr. Betty Mintz

Dr. Betty Mintz agreed to take on Mr. Wyble as a patient.  From the very first visit Dr. Mintz was skeptical about the diagnosis and by November, 2009 when Mr. Wyble suffered an infection of the port for the plasma exchanges, Dr. Mintz was convinced he never had Myasthenia Gravis.  She discontinued all the medication and stopped the plasma exchanges.  She diagnosed Mr. Wyble with Cataplexy which explained the falling down.  She prescribed the correct medicine for that condition and he no longer falls.

The trial lasted three weeks and Dr. Lange continued to maintain he was right in his diagnosis.  The jury disagreed.  They awarded Mr. Wyble $3.5 million dollars for past and future pain and suffering plus the hospital bill of $373,708.  They awarded Mrs. Wyble, who, after six and a half years of being Mr. Wyble’s nurse and not his wife, filed for divorce, $1,000,000 for her loss of services and consortium claim.  The total verdict was $4,873,703.

Richard Gurfein speaks with Q 104.3's Maria Milito

Top New York personal injury lawyer Richard Gurfein speaks with Q 104.3's Maria Milito about the rights of accident victims in New York State.  Click on links below to listen to the interviews.  Mr. Gurfein can be heard live with Maria Milito every Monday at 12:00 noon.

Jury Awards $6.78 Million in Pedestrian Accident

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

On Thursday evening March 3, 2011, a New York County jury reached a verdict in the case of Ernest Lewis, an infant, by his mother, Brenda Lewis against the New York City Transit Authority, MABSTOA and Courtney Thompson, Index no. 101833/07. The four man, two woman jury awarded the 13 year old (now 18) plaintiff $6,783,202.90 for being run over by the BX19 bus at 145th Street and Convent Avenue on November 19, 2005.

After a church service at the First Calvary Baptist Church on 148th Street, Mrs. Lewis and her son Ernest were on their way home. They were trying to catch the BX19 bus at the 145th Street at Convent Ave. bus stop. As Ernest was running alongside the bus he began hitting the side of the bus, which was not moving, to alert the driver of their presence. As he got in front of the middle wheels of this 60-foot long articulating bus, he tripped and his legs fell under the bus. An eyewitness, Alphonza Elliott, testified at the trial, that it was just about the time the child fell that the driver started the bus. The middle tire rode over his legs. Police officers called to the scene noted a tire tread impression in his leg

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Gurfein Captains NY's Ryder Cup Team to Victory

Richard Gurfein, as Captain of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association's Ryder Cup team, led his golfers to their first victory over New Jersey in four years.

Each year members of the New York Trial Lawyers and New Jersey Trial Lawyers (New Jersey Association for Justice) compete in a Ryder Cup style golf tournament.  It is a friendly competition between colleagues who come together for an enjoyable day on the golf course.

This friendly competition has a loving cup as its prize.  The team from New Jersey has won or held the cup for the first three years of the tournament.  But the fourth year was the charm.  On August 19, 2010 at the Tuxedo Club in Tuxedo, NY,  Gurfein's New York squad took the cup away from New Jersey for the first time with a score of 13 1/2 to 10 1/2.  The cup will reside at the NYSTLA headquarters for the next twelve months to commemorate the win.

Richard Gurfein is past president of the NYS Trial Lawyers

Almost 40 years ago, Richard Gurfein made a career jump from teacher to lawyer, but he still hopes he can teach people a few things. Gurfein became president of theNew York State Trial Lawyers Associationin 1995 with hopes of improving the public’s image of lawyers.

But he also had hoped lawyers would do some things themselves to better their image, such as volunteering to help community organizations. “In part, what lawyers do is protect an important part of American democracy – our system of civil justice. We deal with people’s rights and how to protect them,” Gurfein said. “I think that it’s important to understand when advertisements and news stories talk about unusual lawsuits and verdicts, [they] are the exceptions that prove the rule.”

NYSTLA has a web site on the Internet for the public to learn about the civil justice system. The Web site address ishttp://www.nystla.org. “I think lawyers should be active members of the community,” he says. “We owe a debt to the community.”

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