$5M settlement over 2 deaths
By Sheena Delazio
WILKES-BARRE - Two lawsuits against Geisinger South Wilkes-Barre were settled - one for $3.2 million and the other for $1.8 million - in Luzerne County Court on Monday.
Through a petition for compromise and settlement of death action, the family of Patricia Sabol, Edwardsville, will receive $3.2 million and Dr. Stanley Stanish, of Clarks Summit, will get $1.8 million after the death of his wife, Susan. Attorneys from Hourigan, Kluger and Quinn represented Stanish and the Sabol family.
According to court papers:
Patricia Sabol, 66, woke up Sept. 6, 2007, with severe pain in her lower abdomen and consulted her primary-care physician. An ambulance was called and Sabol was transported to Geisinger South Wilkes-Barre, where she was placed under the care of Dr. Harold Boulton.
Court papers say Sabol's pain got progressively worse, and that she had undergone several tests and studies before being discharged on Sept. 7 with a urinary tract infection and abdominal pain.
On Sept. 8, Sabol continued to experience pain and was unable to sit up or stand. At around 9 p.m., Sabol attempted to take a bath to dull her pain, and was unable to help herself out of the bathtub. Sabol's husband, Job, helped her and the two began to walk downstairs, when Patricia collapsed and the two fell.
After the fall, Job Sabol said, his wife was unresponsive, and he called 911. Patricia Sabol passed away just after 10 p.m. after Geisinger South Wilkes-Barre staff was unable to resuscitate her.
An autopsy determined Patricia Sabol, 59, died of a perforated ulcer on the wall of her abdomen.
Patricia Sabol's daughters, Sharon Finn and Roseann Sabol, as well as her husband, said Patricia Sabol's death was preventable if she had been diagnosed and treated properly.
In the Stanish case, court papers said:
Susan Stanish went to the hospital on April 25, 2007, after a fall at her home. An X-ray at Geisinger South Wilkes-Barre showed she fractured her right ankle.
According to court papers, Stanish was given several medications during an eight-hour period. Dr. Cynthia Solomon and Dr. Jon Olengenski questioned whether Stanish suffered from obstructive sleep apnea. Doctors were aware of Stanish's respiratory conditions, including asthma.
Later that afternoon, Stanish was given a medicine, Dilaudid, to which she was allergic. Stanish was sent to the operating room so that her ankle could be set. After the surgery, medications were prescribed to Stanish, including Dilaudid, which was administered by a nurse, despite the fact that it had not been ordered by doctors after the operation.
In the early-morning hours of April 26, nurses found Stanish apneic and asytolic. CPR was performed and Stanish was put on life support.
Later that evening, Stanish's life-support was terminated and Stanish passed away.
Stanley Stanish charged in the lawsuit that his wife's death was caused by the doctors' medical errors and that her death could have been prevented had the doctors "adopted and/or implemented appropriate nursing, pharmacy and administrative policies to prevent narcotic overdose and/or to establish an appropriate medication reconciliation process."