Trial begins in medical malpractice case
The Citizens' Voice - Wilkes-Barre, PA
By Tim Gulla
Following a full day of jury selections on Tuesday, testimony will begin today in an area woman's medical malpractice claim against an area doctor and hospital system.
Attorneys for Tara Yaglowski, Swoyersville, contend that an area doctor missed the signs of a desmoid tumor in a 1996 X-ray and that a two-year delay in diagnosis and treatment led to disfiguring and unsuccessful surgeries to remove the tumor.
"You'll hear that everyone now admits a tumor was clearly visible (on the 1996 X-ray)," Yaglowski's attorney, Joseph Quinn, told the jury panel during selections on Tuesday.
Named as defendants in the civil action are Dr. Nareshkumar Shah, who read the 1996 X-ray for Yaglowski's family physician; General Medical Services; Wyoming Valley Health Care System and Nesbitt Memorial Hospital.
According to court documents filed in the case, Dr. Shah has admitted that he misread the 1996 X-ray as normal.
Attorneys for the hospital system argued in court documents that there is no evidence of corporate negligence in this case.
Attorney Quinn is arguing that the hospital system is responsible for the actions of its agents and that the hospital system violated its own guidelines by requiring its radiologist to review an "inappropriate number" of X-rays in 1996.
Quinn is alleging that hospital guidelines called for radiologistS to review 15,000 films a year. Shah allegedly read more than 16,000 films and reviewed more than 1,000 additional studies as a consultant.
In addition, Quinn alleged in court documents that Shah devoted portions of his time to nuclear medicine and was chief of radiology at Nesbitt Memorial Hospital.
Court documents indicate that Yaglowski went to her family physician on Aug. 30, 1996, with complaints of shoulder discomfort and tenderness in the left chest wall and left arm. An X-ray was performed on Sept. 16, 1996, and sent to Dr. Shah, who allegedly interpreted the X-ray on Sept. 17, 1996, to show "no abnormality."
Based on Shah's report, Yaglowski's family physician reportedly advised her that she was probably suffering from tendinitis. The doctor reportedly recommended ice, moist heat and pain reliever.
On Sept. 2, 1998, Yaglowski reportedly returned to her family physician with complaints of worsening pain in her left shoulder and upper ribs.
A new X-ray showed she had a lesion measuring 7.5 centimeters by 2.5 centimeters in her left upper chest, according to court documents.
A CT scan reportedly confirmed the presence of a tumor.
Reportedly, Yaglowski underwent a surgery on Sept. 24, 1998, that included the resection of several ribs and the reconstruction of her chest wall. Despite the surgery the tumor could not be completely excised.
Yaglowski then underwent six weeks of radiation, according to court documents.
In January 2000, Yaglowski underwent a second surgery that included the resection of three ribs, and the removal of the left clavicle and subclavian veins.
Judge Michael Conahan is presiding over the case, which is expected to last into next week.