Rockland County Jury Returns $1.3M Verdict for Harmful Surgery on Young Girl

ROCKLAND COUNTY, N.Y.--()--A Rockland County jury returned a verdict of almost $1.4 million against a local podiatrist, Ira Bernstein, DPM, for injuries he caused when he fused the growth plates of a 12-year-old girl during bunion surgery in June of 2010 at Nyack Hospital. The girl’s attorney, Barry Kantrowitz of the law firm Kantrowitz Goldhamer & Graifman, PC, said the jury heard over three weeks of testimony from numerous doctors and other witnesses.

Kantrowitz argued that prematurely fusing the growth plates was a departure from accepted standards of care; further, the surgery was unnecessary and Bernstein failed to provide adequate disclosure about the risks of the procedures. The jury heard additional testimony that Bernstein produced altered or fabricated records, and he destroyed or failed to produce records which would have been damaging to him. When he learned of the claim, Bernstein retaliated by balance billing the patient’s parents in excess of $62,000. The claim for $62,000 failed because Bernstein had previously agreed in writing to accept the insurance payment as payment in full.

As the result of a growth spurt shortly after the surgery, the girl’s foot became deformed and unstable. The girl was previously an active and athletic child, but she was left with a condition known as “tripod foot,” resulting in pain and an inability to run. She will likely require future surgery to correct the condition. The jury concluded that Dr. Bernstein was negligent in the manner in which he performed surgery and awarded $275,000 for past pain and suffering and $1,116,666 for future pain and suffering.

Kantrowitz was quoted after the jury verdict: “I am pleased that years of hard work in preparing this case and bringing it to trial resulted in a favorable verdict for my client. Getting a substantial verdict from a local jury against a local doctor is not an easy task, and it is extremely satisfying to see that justice prevailed.”

Attorney Barry Kantrowitz has helped victims of personal injury and medical malpractice for nearly 30 years. He has received the Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent rating, the highest possible rating. Attorney Kantrowitz serves as County Executive in the Rockland County Legislature. To learn more about the firm or to schedule a consultation, call (800) 660-7843, or submit a confidential request at


Kantrowitz Goldhamer & Graifman, PC
Barry Kantrowitz, 800-660-7843