$7.6 Million Jury Verdict for the Death of Prominent Judge

June 1, 2022

A jury in the NY Supreme Court ruled against the Albany Medical Center and awarded $7.6 million to the family of Michael H. Melkonian, who is survived by his wife, Caroline Melkonian, and their two teenage children. The 55-year-old acting Supreme Court Justice Melkonian died on October 17, 2019, after emergency hospital staff left him alone for 23-minutes without medical treatment which resulted in his death.

“Judge Melkonian did not have to die,” stated John H. Fisher, personal injury attorney from Kingston, NY, and lawyer for the Melkonian family.

The jury’s verdict included $2.5 million to the Melkonian children for the loss of their father’s paternal guidance, support, and assistance while Caroline Melkonian received $5.1 million for the loss of her husband’s companionship and support over the next 20 years had Justice Melkonian survived.

“Our only goal is to give justice to the family,” Fisher said, “and today we accomplished that.”

The lawsuit against Albany Medical Center is based upon the failure of the hospital to recognize and treat acute coronary syndrome (ACS) which requires urgent emergency medical intervention. Prior to arriving at the emergency department, Justice Melkonian contacted his cardiologist complaining of sudden severe chest pain and his cardiologist directed him to the Albany Medical Center’s emergency department for treatment.

After arriving at Albany Medical, Justice Melkonian presented with chest pain radiating to his back and hand, diaphoresis – cold, clammy sweat – and he was placed in a private emergency room where he was left alone for the next 23-minutes until he was discovered unresponsive, with no signs of life. An autopsy revealed Justice Melkonian’s death was due to an irregular heart rhythm caused by a coronary artery blockage.

During the 7-day trial, Mr. Fisher demonstrated that ‘the standard of care’ was denied Justice Melkonian when he was not put on a heart monitor, given aspirin and nitroglycerin to improve his blood flow to his heart and given medical staff the time to treat Justice Melkonian with a life-saving cardiac catheterization that could have restored blood to his blocked coronary artery.

Caroline Melkonian stated, “I am pleased that Albany Medical has been held accountable for the lack of care they provided to my husband. If this could happen to us, it could happen to anyone going to the emergency room believing they are going to be cared for and treated and healed. I feel like the jurors gave us justice.”

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