Doctors must pay $2.8 million

The Pittsburgh Press

By Ed Blazina

A Hazelwood man and his wife have been awarded $2.8 million in a medical malpractice suit against three urologists and a pathologist after he partially lost the ability to have marital relations.

Gilbert P. Cecere, 65, was awarded $2 million in damages yesterday, and his wife, Margaret, was awarded $800,000 for loss of consortium after a jury trial before Common Pleas Judge Alan S. Penkower.

Post-trial motions are expected to result in a reduction of the jury’s award because of a pretrial agreement.

Under the award, the pathologist, Dr. Manuel DeLeon of Pleasant Hills, was found liable for 60 percent of the judgment.

Because DeLeon reached a settlement with the couple before the trial, he will ask Penkower next week to reduce his amount of the judgment to the pretrial settlement, said his attorney, Michael J. Kearney. The pretrial settlement has not been made public.

Urologists John J. Walsh, Michael J. Shaughnessy and Stewart L. Feldman, who practice together and have offices in Monroeville and Tarentum, were ordered to pay 40 percent of the damages.

Attorney Neil Rosen, who represented the couple, said Cecere went to the South Hills Health System for a circumcision and biopsy in February 1983. Rosen presented testimony that showed a pathology report DeLeon prepared for the urologists was incomplete, but the urologists still should have treated Cecere’s problem correctly.

When the condition wasn’t treated correctly, cancer developed, and a second operation was performed in December 1983 to deal with the cancer.
Rosen said the operation resulted in Cecere’s partial loss of ability to have marital relations.

Rosen said it took “a lot of courage” for Cecere to file suit because of the sensitive nature of his allegations.