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Personal Injury Verdicts & Awards

Medical malpractice trial suspended for try at settlement

Medical malpractice trial suspended for try at settlement


WILKES-BARRE - Testimony in a medical malpractice trial ceased Friday morning after attorneys said they will try to negotiate a settlement in the case during the weekend.

The halt came about an hour into the third day of testimony in Dorothy Thornton's lawsuit against Mercy Hospital and two doctors. Thornton filed suit on behalf of her 72-year-old husband, Frank Thornton.

He died in September 2000, several weeks after doctors placed him on a ventilator before surgery. Doctors Esther McKenzie and Walter Boris placed the ventilator breathing tube down his esophagus instead of his windpipe, the suit says. That forced his body to go without oxygen for six to 10 minutes, leading to the brain damage and death, said Joe Quinn, the estate's attorney. Doctors also missed signs that the tube was misplaced, including a swollen abdomen and dropped heart rate, Quinn said.

The hospital also failed to tell Thornton's family about the incident and the error, ignoring a patient's right to know, Quinn has argued.

The attorney was in the middle of questioning Dr. Richard Fischbein on Friday when hospital attorney Larry Durkin asked to meet with the parties and Court of Common Pleas Judge Peter Paul Olszewski Jr.

After a brief recess, Quinn asked Olszewski to stop the trial until Monday because attorneys wanted to negotiate a possible settlement.

Olszewski informed the jury of the "unusual" occurrence and ordered the parties and jury to reconvene at 8:15 a.m. Monday.

PLEASE NOTE: Every case is fact specific, and these results do not guaranty the same results will be obtained in a different case.

Hourigan, Kluger & Quinn, PC is led by Attorney Joseph Quinn, one of the Top 100 trial lawyers in the nation. Seventeen lawyers strong, HKQ Law represents Personal Injury, Business Law and Personal Law clients in Lackawanna, Luzerne and surrounding northeastern PA counties for more than half a century. HKQ Law has won some of the largest verdicts and settlements in the region's history, totaling over a half billion dollars on behalf of injured clients, and was recently recognized for one of the top 20 Verdicts in Pennsylvania, 2015.

The attorneys at HKQ Law have been honored as Super Lawyers, Best Lawyers, Best Law Firms by US News and World Reports, and have received the AV Preeminent Rating by Martindale-Hubbel. Additional information can be found at or by calling (800) 760-1529.



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