Wrong-patient surgery at hospital in Pa. nets $6M judgement

A former patient at Taylor Hospital in Ridley Park, Pa., of Springfield, Pa.-based Crozer-Keystone Health System, has been awarded $6 million in damages for an unnecessary procedure performed after the radiology staff confused the plaintiff's X-rays with another patient's, according to the Delaware County Daily Times.

In December 2009, Darlene Hill was admitted to the emergency room at Taylor Hospital after suffering abdominal pain. After a CT scan, a radiologist determined that Ms. Hill had fluid leaking into the tissue of her abdomen — the cause was determined to be likely due to a perforated appendix or bowel. The radiologist with South East Radiology reportedly did not compare the X-ray with prior film and did not review the patient's medical history, both of which would have indicated that Ms. Hill was not the patient depicted in the most recent scan.

As a hospital surgeon performed exploratory surgery on Ms. Hill, he could not find abnormalities or cites of perforation. Still, he removed the appendix.

One of Ms. Hill's attorneys, Francis Curran, told the Daily Times that his client suffers from nerve damage and chronic pain as a result of the wrong-patient procedure. In a recently concluded trial, the jury found South East Radiology was 20 percent negligent and Taylor Hospital was 80 percent negligent and awarded Ms. Hill $650,000 for past medical costs, lost earnings and damages. Ms. Hill was also granted $2.99 million in future medical costs, $1.35 million in future lost earnings and $1 million in future non-economic loss.

According to the Daily Times, Grant Gegwich, vice president of public relations and marketing at Crozer-Keystone Health System, said in a statement, "We thank the members of the jury for their thoughtful deliberation...in this case, we acknowledged the error previously and disclosed it to the plaintiff as soon as we recognized it and then worked to achieve a fair settlement with her."

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