‘Alarming’ number of lawsuits at Brownsville’s Brookdale University Hospital

New York Daily News
Thursday, March 1, 2012

Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center is the target of more than 100 open lawsuits by patients who claim they — or their dead relatives — were harmed instead of healed, Brooklyn Supreme Court records show.

At least a dozen cases allege patients died due to malpractice or negligence at the cash-strapped Brownsville hospital — including a mugging victim with traumatic brain injuries and two patients whose severe pressure ulcers led to fatal infections.

“The number of suits against Brookdale is alarming,” said state Assemblyman Nick Perry (D-East Flatbush), who called it “a very strong indication that something is definitely wrong with how the hospital is run.”

State Assemblyman Karim Camara (D-East Flatbush) said the heavy load of lawsuits is “further evidence there needs to be a change at the highest levels of management.”

The Rockaway Parkway facility, one of five financially-troubled Brooklyn hospitals recommended for mergers by a state panel, is the most burdened of the group with lawsuits.

Accusations of sloppy care range from letting a diabetic’s puncture wound get so infected that his toes had to be amputated to giving penicillin to a patient wearing a bracelet showing she was allergic to it. A doctor’s alleged negligence during childbirth is blamed for a baby’s permanent brain and nervous system injuries.

“It sounds like there’s an epidemic of medical malpractice at this hospital,” said Joanne Doroshow, executive director of the Center for Justice and Democracy at New York Law School, who called the volume of suits “egregious.”

For each case filed, it’s likely 100 other patients felt they got shoddy care but didn’t sue, said Doroshow.

“When a hospital is so unsafe, it costs the hospital a tremendous amount of money,” she said. “There are proven ways to clean up your act, patient safety improvements that are well-known. It is pure negligence not to do them.”

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