In January 2004, Diane Manganiello, then 42, of Montague, went to a Port Jervis, N.Y., hospital for treatment of a low sodium level. She left with a brain injury that took away much of her physical movement and her speech.
The onetime calculus teacher at Wallkill Valley Regional High School in Hamburg now functions with “the cognitive level of a young child,” said her attorney, Robert Winters.
Earlier this month, a jury in Orange County, N.Y., awarded the Manganiellos $34 million in a 5-year-old medical malpractice case.
Much of the award will pay for around-the-clock care that will let Diane Manganiello live at home, but, her husband says, “It’s not over yet.”
Attorneys for Bon Secours Community Hospital and the doctor and nurse who were sued are appealing, and it’s unclear when the money will be paid.
After his wife was hospitalized, Andrew Manganiello lost his job as sales manager for a printing company in Morristown, because he was spending so much time “running to the hospital every day.” He remained devoted to his wife’s care and finally returned to work last September, employed by the state Department of Labor as a business representative for Sussex County.
Through all these troubles, the couple’s five children — who ranged in age from 12 to 18 back in 2004 — have all gone to college. The three girls went into fields that would enable them to directly help their mother — speech pathology, occupational therapy and nutrition. Meanwhile, the two sons, the oldest of the group, got financial-services jobs and now help their father pay the bills.
The jury accepted the Manganiellos’ contention the hospital — and specifically, the physician, Moinuddin Ahmed, and a nurse, Rose Aumick — created Diane Manganiello’s condition by giving her too much sodium too quickly.
Patients suffering from hyponatremia — or a low sodium level — should have their sodium raised slowly, no more than 10 to 12 units over 24 hours, Winters said. However, Diane Manganiello’s level was raised 27 units in 14 hours, causing irreversible brain damage.