Estate of Philly woman who died from pneumonia after premature labor awarded nearly $2 million

By Jon Campisi | Jul 8, 2013

A civil jury in Philadelphia recently awarded nearly $2 million to the family of a 25-year-

old city woman who died from pneumonia shortly after delivering a premature child.

The July 2 $1,954,000 plaintiff’s verdict went to Yaris M. Casiano, who had filed suit in her capacity as administratrix of the estate of Mary Casiano, who was six months pregnant when she was taken to the emergency room at Temple University Hospital nearly four years ago to the date with symptoms of pneumonia, according to court records and the lawyer representing the estate.

Plaintiff’s attorney Larry Cohan, of the Philadelphia firm Anapol Schwartz, noted that Casiano was initially misdiagnosed by hospital staff, who sent her home with antibiotics, although the woman returned for medical care two days later for treatment of pneumonia in both of her lungs.

The complaint stated that Casiano was treated for acute respiratory failure and the bodily infection sepsis upon her return to the hospital. She also had to undergo an emergency cesarean-section procedure to give birth to her premature daughter; the child weighed only two-and-a-half pounds at the time of birth.

Cohan argued at trial that the hospital and its staff were negligent during Casiano’s initial admission to the hospital, since they failed to properly diagnose the lung condition, specifically that they failed to order a chest X-ray that would have picked up the double-lung pneumonia, according to the plaintiff’s firm.

Casiano ended up passing away on July 6, 2009, records show.

The defendants had argued that Casiano didn’t exhibit all the signs of pneumonia at the time of her initial admittance, and that hospital staff properly treated her when they sent the woman home with antibiotics and instructions to return to the hospital if her problems persisted.

Defense attorneys also maintained that Casiano “would have died anyway” had she been admitted at the outset due to the severity of her condition, according to Anapol Schwartz.

In a statement, plaintiff’s attorney Cohan said that while Casiano’s other daughters, ages 7 and 4, would have to grow up without a mother, some measure of justice was brought to the family due to the outcome of the civil case.

“It was particularly rewarding to obtain compensation for these two little girls who will have to grow up without a mother,” Cohan said in a statement issued by his firm.

The court docket sheet in the case shows that Temple Health Systems, as well as physicians Shaliz Dolan and Todd Larson were all originally listed as defendants when the suit was first filed in the spring of 2011, but in the end, only Dolan was held liable.

Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge John Younge had signed off on an agreed upon stipulation that dismissed Larson and Temple Health Systems from the litigation with prejudice just prior to trial, records indicate.

When Casiano’s estate initially brought suit against the defendants, there were two separate cases on the docket, court records show, but in early November 2011 Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge William Manfredi granted a plaintiff’s motion to consolidate the medical malpractice actions.

The record shows that the defendants were represented by lawyers from Philadelphia’s Post & Schell, P.C. as well as the city firm Rawle & Henderson.

The case number was 110303678.

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