Local doctor, medical practice hit with $11.6 million verdict

Local doctor, medical practice hit with $11.6 million verdict

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QUEENSBURY  A state Supreme Court jury in Warren County on Monday awarded a Fort Ann man $11.6 million after finding a radiologist’s malpractice led to a major, disabling stroke.

The jury deliberated for about 3 1/2 hours before ruling on behalf of Comstock business owner Kevin Orr in his lawsuit against Glens Falls radiologist James E. Bell and Bell’s former practice, Adirondack Radiology Associates.

Orr was permanently disabled and lost his business after suffering two strokes in a matter of weeks, according to one of his lawyers, Margie Soehl.

The verdict, believed to be the largest medical malpractice award in the history of the region’s judicial district, came after a one-week trial that focused on tests performed on Orr on Jan. 25, 2012, at Glens Falls Hospital.

He had gone to the hospital because of dizziness, a headache and problems standing, and a CT scan was ordered. A blockage in a blood vessel in his brain that was indicative of an undiagnosed stroke was visible on the scan, but was not reported by Dr. Bell to the emergency room staff, so Orr was diagnosed with a sinus infection and released, Soehl said.

Seven weeks later, Orr suffered a major stroke that has left him permanently disabled and in need of lifetime care, she said.

“Kevin was a highly skilled machinist and he lost his business because of this stroke,” Soehl said.

$7.5 million of the award was for pain and suffering, the remainder for future care.

His business, DSO Machining & Consulting of Comstock, did machine work for the aerospace industry.

In a news release issued by his lawyers, Orr praised his counsel, Soehl and lawyer Laura Jordan, both of the firm Powers & Santola LLP of Albany, and the jury.

“They were my voice when Dr. Bell didn’t want to take responsibility for causing the disabilities that I deal with every day,” he is quoted as saying.

The verdict can be appealed.

Bell now practices medicine in Washington state and did not return a phone call for comment Tuesday afternoon. His lawyer, Kevin Burke of Albany, also did not return a phone call for comment.

Don Lehman covers crime and Warren County government for The Post-Star. His work can also be found on Twitter @PS_CrimeCourts and on poststar.com/app/blogs.

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