In July, as we detailed in last week's cover story, a Queens jury ordered Dr. Arlene Mercado to pay $8 million in damages for the death of her patient, six-year-old Claudialee Gomez-Nicanor. Mercado, jurors concluded, was fully liable for the girl's death because she misdiagnosed her with type 2 diabetes when the girl actually had type 1.
The award is not final. Mercado's defense team filed a motion asking the judge to decrease the punitive portion of the payout and the judge is currently contemplating it.
It's a sizable sum--much higher than what malpractice insurance providers cover.Yet it seems small when compared to nine-figure medical malpractice awards that make headlines. In April, for instance, a New York jury doled out a $130 million award.
Why was the award in Mercado's case so much lower?
Because her patient died.More »