WOLF & FUHRMAN, LLP. recently settled a case for close to two million dollars, for the benefit of a grieving family of five children, who lost their mother when a hospital improperly placed a breathing tube into her esophagus. Instead of providing oxygen to her lungs, the tube needlessly pumped air into her stomach causing her death.
While never admitting fault, the hospital made the claim that the case had minimal value under New York’s wrongful death statute, enacted in 1847. Because their single mother was not working and not financially supporting her children, the hospital was allowed to argue her life was worthless using this antiquated law.
Incredibly, New York law does not recognize the grief sustained by a family and allow them to seek fair and just compensation for their loss. This is particularly true for families with a single non-working parent, or for the loss of a child. New York’s law also discriminates against people of color who see higher rates of tragic loss of life resulting from substandard medical care.
New York is only one of a handful of states that does not consider a family’s damages when they are grieving the loss of a family member. Nothing is more disturbing than the loss of a child or parent to their loved ones, yet New York law does not recognize the sanctity of life and provide for a family’s emotional loss.
To correct this injustice, the New York State legislature has passed the Grieving Families Act. However, to date, Governor Hochul has failed to sign it into law. WOLF & FUHRMAN urges everyone to email the Governor at www.HopeforNYFamilies.com and urge her to sign this long overdue legislation into law.
While WOLF & FUHRMAN, was able to obtain compensation for our clients due to the egregious nature of the hospital’s malpractice and certain legal theories we were able to craft, no family should be told their loved one’s life was worthless under New York Law.
It is time for the Governor to sign this long overdue legislation into law, and recognize the emotional toll the death of a loved one through someone else’s careless behavior impacts a family.