Ronald Bello was 49 years old and worked for Jet Blue as a systems operation manager. He was on the list for a heart transplant. Mr. Bello was not in an emergent condition and was waiting for the right heart match to become available. He was advised by the doctors at New York Presbyterian Hospital Columbia University Medical Center that a suitable heart had become available. Mr. Bello went to the hospital to be prepared for the heart transplant while a team of doctors from Presbyterian hospital flew down to Florida, in a specially equipped jet, so that the donor heart in Florida could be explanted and flown back to New York.
As part of the standard protocol an angiogram was performed on the donor heart that confirmed that the heart was strong and in good condition. In addition to the angiogram, the cardiac surgeon is required to palpate (feel) the heart once it is removed from the donor to confirm that it is healthy and does not have cardiovascular disease.
During the three week trial in New York Queens County Supreme Court, the defense claimed that the heart was palpated in Florida and that it was free of disease. The heart was then flown back to New York Presbyterian Hospital and implanted into Mr. Bello.
Several days after the heart was implanted into Mr. Bello he died from a hemorrhage. Our firm was retained by the Bello family and in turn we retained a team of top medical experts that testified that the heart that was explanted in Florida and implanted into Mr. Bello had severe cardiovascular disease and that it was the cardiovascular disease that was the direct cause of Mr. Bello’s death.
In this very difficult and hard fought case, our firm entered into what is called a high/low settlement agreement prior to the jury’s verdict whereby the Bello family was guaranteed to receive a minimum of $200,000.00 and a maximum of $2,000,000.00. The case went to the jury and the jury returned a full verdict for the plaintiff in the sum of $2,350,000.00. This was a victory for our firm but more importantly a victory for the Bello family.