Peter Sacco, 89, a retired machinist living in Guttenberg, was killed by a car last March, more than 20 years after he received the settlement from St. Mary Hospital in Hoboken. His lawyer, Walter Lesnevich of Hackensack, N.J., said Sacco spent none of the money on himself, giving half of it away during his lifetime and telling Lesnevich to donate the rest after his death, The Jersey (City) Journal reported.
Sacco's son, Peter Jr., was in his early 20s when he died. A schizophrenic, the young man had been given the drug Haldol at the hospital and developed a high fever.
As a result of Sacco's suit, patients have their temperatures taken every four hours after being given Haldol, Lesnevich said.
Sacco, a retired machinist, "lived sparsely," Lesnevich said.
"He didn't touch any of the money," Lesnevich said. "He was very shy. This was his only child and he wasn't married."
Over the years, Lesnevich said, Sacco would call him and instruct him to make a donation. Since his death, the lawyer has given $100,000 to The Bridge, a New York City program serving people with mental illness or AIDS and the homeless, and a similar amount to the law school at Rutgers, New Jersey's state university.
As a result of the donations, The Bridge and Rutgers have established coordinated programs for veterans.