Damages: One Family's Legal Struggles in the World of Medicine

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Simon & Schuster, 1998 - Law - 400 pages
Donna Sabia went into labor anticipating the birth of twins. She had two days earlier been told that everything seemed fine. Yet when the babies were born, one was dead and the other barely alive. At the urging of a friend, the Sabias filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against Dr. Humes and Norwalk Hospital. Barry Werth takes us through the seven-year lawsuit, allowing us to see the legal strategy plotted by the Sabias' attorneys, Connecticut's premier medical malpractice law firm. He narrates a tale of doctor, midwife, hospital, and insurance carriers all angling to shift the blame elsewhere, and of rival attorneys searching for medical experts to help them wage battle. But Damages is also the immensely moving story of the Sabias, grief-stricken at first, them challenged daily by the extraordinary amount of care Little Tony required. He was unable to eat, talk, walk, or even sit, yet despite the enormous strain on their marriage and the staggering financial cost, they never considered putting him in a home. Nor are they the only victims. Dr. Humes is forced to struggle with the stain of the lawsuit and the financial and psychological burdens it brings. Meanwhile, the experts debate what happened and who, if anyone, is at fault. In the end, the question of fault recedes behind the shared interest of all parties in avoiding a trial. The Sabias seek financial relief and security for their son's uncertain future while the defendants wish to avoid the expense and uncertainty of a protracted litigation. The risk of losing pushes all sides closer together. More than a story of one couple's personal anguish and devotion to their damaged child, Damages is also a timely, thoughtful explorationof what happens when our legal and medical worlds collide.

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DAMAGES: One Family's Legal Struggles in the World of Medicine

User Review  - Kirkus

A richly detailed account of a medical malpractice suit that reveals how human-energy-intensive, expensive, and inefficient the medical liability system can be. Werth, a business and science writer ... Read full review

Damages: one family's legal struggles in the world of medicine

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Werth (The Billion Dollar Molecule, LJ 2/1/94) integrates the story of one family's travails after the birth of a profoundly disabled son with an unbiased view of medical and legal issues. Werth ... Read full review


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About the author (1998)

Barry Werth is the author of "The Billion-Dollar Molecule" & "Damages". He has written about Newton Arvin for "The New Yorker" & has also been published in "GQ" & "The New York Times Magazine". He lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.

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