$1.2 Million Verdict in a Western Pennsylvania Amputation Lawsuit


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A federal district court jury awarded $1.2 million to a Sharon, Pa., woman who had to have her leg amputated after a doctor failed to properly diagnose and treat an arterial blockage.

On July 4, 2004 Dorothy Schell went to the emergency room at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Horizon complaining of redness and pain in her right foot.

There, Dr. Jeffrey M. Moldovan, D.O., diagnosed her with cellulitis, a common skin infection caused by bacteria, and sent her home with instructions to follow up with her family doctor in three days.

Moldovan had suspected that Schell, now 67, had a blockage in her artery and ordered a diagnostic test. But the test was never done, and Schell never saw a physician who specializes in vascular disease—steps, her attorney argued, that would have saved her leg.

Following Moldovan’s discharge of Schell from the emergency room, her condition worsened to the point that doctors had to amputate her right leg below the knee.

“Had Dr. Moldovan taken the most basic and fundamental medical steps after he suspected the blockage, Dorothy Schell would still have both her legs today,” said Joel J. Feller, Schell’s lawyer and a founding partner at the Philadelphia firm of Ross Feller Casey.

Feller successfully convinced the jury of just that during six days of testimony in the U.S. District Court of Western Pennsylvania.

The jury returned a unanimous verdict of $1.2 million for pain, suffering and disfigurement and future medical and care cost.

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