Dead Woman's Family Awarded $3.9 Million

Posted By The Miami Herald | 27-Mar-1986

Seven years after the death of a woman, who went to Cedars of Lebanon Hospital for what was to be simple gynecological surgery, a jury awarded her family $3.9 million in damages Wednesday. Maria Teresa Silva, the wide of a staff physician at Cedars, now called Cedars Medical Center, died on Mother’s Day 1979, after lying in a coma since the operation the previous August.

Silva’s story made headlines in 1978 when her husband, Orlando, who specialized in cancer treatment and internal medicine, took over her case and made desperate efforts to revive her. At times he used medication, and at others he resorted to the Cuban rites of Santeria, including animal sacrifice.

After a 15-day trial in 1980, a jury found that Cedars and anesthesiologist Ruben Gurvich negligently caused the death of Teresa Silva, 39. But the jury became confused over how to award damages, and an appeal court sent the case back to be tried again solely on the damage question.

On Wednesday, a six-member jury awarded Dr. Silva $1.05 million, gave each of his four children $710,000, and added $5,075.20 for funeral expenses. Silva’s lawyer, Stephen Malove, sought $ 20 million.

Malove’s firm will get 50 percent of the jury award.

Womack, Cedar’s attorney, said his client would have to decide whether to appeal. He said Cedars will try to get some of the money from anesthesiologist Gurvich, who carried no insurance at the time. Gurvich’s lawyer, Kenneth Duboff, said his client will appeal.
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