On May 12, 2011, Gary Stern was admitted as a patient to Sinai Hospital with severe left upper abdominal pain. The consulting gastroenterologist (GI) did not consider any upper intestinal issues to be the cause of Mr. Stern’s pain, and attributed his illness to a chronic history of Crohn’s disease. In fact, Mr. Stern had an ulcer in his upper intestinal tract. He was discharged without diagnosis, but returned to Northwest Hospital eight days later with persistent left upper quadrant pain. The consulting GI on this admission also failed to consider an upper intestinal cause for Mr. Stern’s persistent pain.
Mr. Stern’s undiagnosed and untreated ulcer perforated, causing a cascade of intra-abdominal medical problems. He underwent over a dozen surgical procedures from June 2011 through February 2013, and incurred over $1 million in medical expenses. Mr. Stern is now afflicted with Short Bowel Syndrome and requires tube feeding on a daily basis to get his nutrition. He also lives in chronic pain, requiring a pain pump 24 hours a day. The jury in the Case—tried by Jay Miller and Michael Warshaw—awarded Mr. Stern excess of $14 million dollars for future care expense, and awarded Mr. Stern and his wife $13 million for non-economic damages.