A jury in U.S. District Court granted a $1,160,000 judgment against a doctor in a medical malpractice case on Monday.
Bookwalter, a Brattleboro surgeon, was proved to be negligent in the treatment of a patient in 2001.
According to the original complaint filed, Bookwalter began treating the man in 1987 after he was injured in a lawnmower rollover. He was under Bookwalter’s care until 2001.
In June 2001 he was referred back to Bookwalter for burns on his foot. Olanyk apparently suffered a burn to his left toe by a heating pad and didn’t realize it.
Legal documents show Bookwalter saw the burn and made a notation in his chart “this could be very threatening – the foot is at risk of infection.”
Olanyk allegedly saw Bookwalter several times before he collapsed at his home on July 13, 2001, and was transported to Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton, then to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Mass.
His left leg was then amputated below the knee. The lawsuit faults Bookwalter for the amputation and after-effects.
“Our allegation was that he should have been sent to a burn doctor,” Lesser said. “Instead, a conservative treatment was followed.”
The five-day trial culminated in five hours of deliberation on Monday, Lesser said. The jury could not reach a verdict at that time, and Judge J. Garvan Murtha requested they resume deliberations. Lesser said. Two hours later, the jury rendered a unanimous verdict in Olanyk’s favor, Lesser said.