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Local News

October 3, 2012

Fox Hospital hit with $126M verdict

COOPERSTOWN — In what is believed to be the largest civil judgment in local court history, a state Supreme Court jury has directed A.O. Fox Memorial Hospital to pay a 51-year-old Oneonta woman $126 million to cover her past pain and future medical needs for failure to diagnose and treat her heart attack.

The former Fox patient, Debora Sohl, lost at least 70 percent of her heart’s pumping capacity as a result of doctors initially failing to recognize that she was experiencing a heart attack when she went to the hospital emergency room Jan. 26, 2009, said her attorney, James Linnan of Albany. Within about six years, Linnan said, Sohl will need a heart transplant.

Reacting to the verdict, Fox Memorial President John R. Remillard said the hospital will be filing an appeal.

“A.O. Fox Hospital has been a cornerstone of the Oneonta Community for more than 100 years and we take our mission of providing excellent healthcare to our family, friends and neighbors extremely seriously,” Remillard said in a prepared statement Tuesday. “Our goal is to handle each of the 100,000 patient visits we receive every year with the utmost care. The verdict in this case was unexpected, and we will be filing an appeal. A.O. Fox’s 900 employees will continue to provide excellent healthcare to the area’s youngest patients, oldest patients and everyone in between.”

There was no immediate comment on the verdict from the Bassett Healthcare Network, with which Fox Memorial is now affiliated. At the time of the incident, Fox was independent of Bassett, noted Bassett spokeswoman Karen Huxtable-Hooker.

Linnan said Sohl’s ordeal at Fox began when she arrived at the hospital that morning at 9:36 a.m. with a “crushing chest pain.” Linnan said. It was not until about 2 p.m. that she was examined by an emergency room doctor and given an electrocardiogram test, he said.

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