On June 6, 2012, a Queens County jury rendered a verdict against New York Presbyterian Hospital-Columbia University Medical Center, for implanting a diseased heart into Ronald Bello causing his death. On November 26, 2006, Mr. Bello, age 49, who had been waiting for a heart transplant, was given the good news that a donor heart was available. While preparing for the heart transplant at New York Presbyterian Hospital, a hospital doctor flew down to Florida where the donor heart was to be harvested. Pursuant to the hospital’s protocols, the doctor must examine the heart prior to harvesting, including palpation of the coronary arteries for evidence of disease. The heart was harvested and implanted into Mr. Bello. Six days later he unexpectedly died leaving a wife and three children.
The hospital conducted an autopsy of the heart, and their pathologist found that the heart had severe coronary artery disease which contributed to Mr. Bello’s death. “The New York Presbyterian Hospital had the obligation to make sure that the donor heart was free of disease before it was implanted into Mr. Bello and they failed in that obligation” said Stuart L. Finz the senior trial attorney at the law firm of Finz & Finz, P.C., “The hospital fought the case from the beginning but justice has prevailed” said Finz an attorney for the Bello family. “Based upon the hospital’s autopsy findings, the harvesting doctor should have detected the coronary artery disease prior to harvesting. The diseased heart should never have been harvested and implanted into Mr. Bello” said Jack Kanzler the trial attorney of the law firm of Finz & Finz, P.C. The verdict was in the sum of $2,350,000. The parties entered into a high low agreement prior to the verdict whereby the Bello family was guaranteed to receive no less than $200,000 if there was a defendant verdict, and a maximum sum or $2,000,000 if the verdict was $2,000,000 or greater.