NEW MILFORD — The widow of Tom D’Amato, a patient who died three days after having a procedure done at New Milford Hospital in April 2010, will likely file a malpractice suit by the end of November against Dr. Michael Waldman, the radiologist who performed the procedure.
John Houlihan Jr., the attorney representing the widow, Diane D’Amato, said Tuesday that while “ideally we would like to wait for the outcome of the Department of Public Health hearing (on the incident), that is not required by law.”
“They have indicated they feel there was a departure from the proper procedure for care,” Houlihan said of the Department of Public Health attorneys. “In all likelihood, we will be proceeding with the action. We should be filing by Thanksgiving.”
When contacted last week at Northeast Radiology, Waldman said, “I do not wish to talk to you,” and hung up the phone.
The Department of Public Health filed charges against Waldman for the April 2010 incident on Aug. 19 this year, and a hearing is expected to take place in November or December.
The charges say Waldman’s care for the patient “failed to meet the standard of care” in that he did not “take a post-procedure non-contrast abdominal CT scan, did not adequately monitor the patient, did not admit the patient to the emergency department of the hospital, failed to discuss the puncture (of his spleen during the procedure) with the patient and failed to give adequate discharge instructions.”
The statement of charges calls for the state Medical Examining Board to “revoke or order other disciplinary action against the physician and surgeon license of Michael Waldman M.D.”
DPH attorneys had reached a settlement with Waldman concerning the 2010 incident, in which he was to be placed on supervised probation for a year, according to department proposed consent order documents.
Waldman did not admit negligence in the incident but agreed not to contest the department’s findings.
The state Medical Examining Board rejected that settlement, requiring a stronger sanction, according to its Aug. 16 meeting minutes.
Court records reveal Waldman is no stranger to medical malpractice accusations. He was sued for malpractice in March 2008 by Laura Brande, a patient whose breast ultrasound was allegedly misread by Dr. Waldman in December 2005.
Brande underwent a total right mastectomy in August 2006 and brought suit, saying her “loss and injuries were caused by Michael Waldman, M.D.,’s failure to properly interpret the Dec. 6, 2005, ultrasound,” according to court documents.
On Aug. 10, 2006, Dr. Louis Perez conducted a second ultrasound on Brande’s right breast. He described a “solid lesion” and said the mass had been present on Dec. 6, 2005. A needle biopsy of the mass on Aug. 14, 2006, found it “suspicious for malignancy,” court documents show.
The malpractice suit was withdrawn this May, after an expert witness, Dr. Susan Pories, stated in the court that even if the “cancerous lesions had been diagnosed as early as December 2005, the surgical options … would not have been significantly altered,” according to a Disclosure of Expert Witness document dated April 11.
“An out-of-court settlement was reached,” Brande’s attorney Charles B. Price said Monday, “but the matter is confidential and I really can’t comment on it further.”
Calls to Beverly Hunt, of the Stamford firm Ryan Ryan DeLuca, who is Waldman’s attorney in the Brande suit, were not returned.
State Department of Public Health spokesman Bill Garrish declined to comment on whether department attorneys were aware of the pending 2008 malpractice suit against Waldman at the time they reached the proposed settlement with him for the April 2010 incident.
Garrish said the department cannot comment on pending cases.
Contact Susan Tuz at email@example.com or 860-355-7322