On February 16, 2010, a Fairfax County, VA jury awarded nearly $3 million to the family of a man who died from an undiagnosed espophgeal (throat) tear. Hector Alvarez, who was 52, had difficulty swallowing a piece of meat in July of 2006. He went to Inova HeathPlex where a radiologist diagnosed him with a hiatal hernia. He was initally treated with oral medications, but his pain continued. It was not until the next afternoon that his physicians spotted the perforated exophagus. Before the surgery to repair the tear could be performed, Mr. Alvarez went into cardiac arrest and died.
His wife filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the radiologist and the anesthesiology group who admnistered anesthesia ten daysbefore Mr. Alvarez arrested and died. Trial was held, and the jury awarded $2,933,500 which included the decedent's future lost wages. Mr. Alvarez was earning $100,000 at the time of his death. The attorney for the plaintiffs was John Sellinger.
There is a cap on the amount of damages that can be recovered in Virginia. Currently the cap is $1.85 million.Juries are never told of the existence of a cap during the trial.Theverdict will likely be reduced on post-trial motions.