After a two-week trial in Niagara County NY, a jury awarded $9 million dollars in damages to the survivors of Suzanne E. Crane in a medical malpractice lawsuit. The suit claims that Dr. Nancy J. Stubbe did not diagnose Crane’s breast cancer, who died in 2004 at the age of 33 after cancer had spread to 15 of her 16 lymph nodes, when Crane began seeing the doctor in 2002. It was not until 2003 when she visited another doctor that she was diagnosed with cancer. Attorney John B. Licata, who represented the Crane family, noted that Stubbe never performed a biopsy, even after a lump was found in Crane’s breast.
The State Supreme Court jury found on June 30th that Stubbe, who has been a doctor for more than 40 years and awarded accolades for her services, was negligent in her treating Crane and that her negligence was a substantial factor in her death. The $9 million dollar award, which includes $6 million based on future monetary losses, is noted as being one of the largest civil lawsuit payouts in Niagara County history.
However, there is some controversy surrounding the verdict due to the jury, which was made up of six women included two nurses. Professor Charles P. Ewing of the University at Buffalo Law School commented its "amazing that both sides would allow two nurses on a jury in a case like that" while even Licata mentioned "I don’t know if a jury of six men would have paid as close attention as this jury did."
The verdict may be appealed, but calls to Stubbe’s attorney John T. Loss by the Buffalo City News looking for comment, were not returned.