A record $5.2 million cash settlement for malpractice and mandated changes in procedure at Albany Medical Center Hospital have not brought closure to family members who watched Diane Rizk McCabe, 32, of Rotterdam, bleed to death over the course of 15 hours following a mishandled Caesarean section delivery of her second child on Sept. 3, 2007.
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Acting State Supreme Court Justice Roger McDonough approved the settlement of the McCabe family’s malpractice lawsuit against the hospital and Albany obstetricians Dr. Sean Yong-Il Lee and Dr. Cheryl Burack. The judge ordered payment to be divided this way: Lee, $2.3 million cash; Burack, $1.9 million cash; and Albany Med, $1 million cash and non-monetary benefits.
The unusual aspect to the settlement requires that Albany Med fund for the next 20 years a Diane McCabe Memorial Quality Lecture series focusing on topics related to enhancing patient safety. It also requires the hospital to buy a maternal and neonatal simulator to be used in staff training on the labor and delivery unit and to change procedures on the use of a machine that monitors a patient’s vital signs during childbirth.
McCabe was healthy and she completed a problem-free, full-term pregnancy in 2007.
She was under the care of an Albany obstetrical practice led by Lee and Burack.
McCabe began having contractions and went to Albany Med on Monday of the long Labor Day weekend. She was admitted by Burack. After 10 hours of labor and unsuccessfully pushing, Burack passed her care off to Lee and Burack left, court documents said.
Lee had an inexperienced second-year medical resident assist him in the Caesarean procedure, according to the court documents. After closing up McCabe, Lee twice declined to heed calls from the attending physician on duty in the surgical intensive care unit, who was concerned that McCabe was bleeding internally, the documents further state. As her condition continued to decline, the attending physician urged Lee, who left to deliver another baby by Caesarean during this period, a third time to open up McCabe, according to court documents. Lee finally relented, but it was too late because McCabe had lost so much blood.
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