Pennsylvania Record

Monday, August 19, 2019

Superior Court affirms medical malpractice win for defendants

By Shanice Harris | Apr 26, 2017

PHILADELPHIA – The Superior Court recently ruled in favor of defendants Chestnut Hill Hospital, Tri-County Emergency Physicians and many of its associates in an appeal filed by Ellesia Blaque of a trial court decision clearing the healthcare provider of medical malpractice. 

The original case dealt with the standard of care that Blaque's father, Herbert McCracken, received in December 2012 when he was admitted to the emergency room for abdominal pains. McCracken died nearly two weeks later from an acute gastrointestinal bleed.

On Dec. 12, 2012, 75-year-old McCracken was admitted into the Chestnut Hill Hospital at 5:27 a.m. He had been complaining of abdominal pain and diarrhea over the last two days and sought emergency care. McCracken was seen by several doctors that morning, first by Dr. Ryan Burke. 

Burke diagnosed McCracken with diarrhea, small bowel obstruction, dehydration and other similar diagnoses. He ordered McCracken an IV to help with the dehydration.

Later that morning, McCracken was moved to Dr. David Jaslow, who was to discharge him after lab results came in. Jaslow also agreed that it was diarrhea. He was discharged. The next day, McCracken came back into the hospital, complaining of the same thing. 

He was diagnosed with acute gastrointestinal bleeding, according to court documents. The hospital tried several treatments and surgeries over the next few days, but McCracken died on Dec. 24. His cause of death was listed as “GI Bleed, End Stage Liver Disease.”

McCracken’s wife first filed the suit, but after her death, the plaintiff—their daughter—took over the lawsuit. She alleged medical malpractice, which led to the death of her father.

In the 2016 trial, Judge Denis P. Cohen of the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas ruled in favor of Chestnut Hill Hospital, stating that Burke and Jaslow were not negligent in this situation. Subsequently, the plaintiff filed two post-trial motions, but the court denied both motions for post-trial relief.

Several months later, Blaque filed a notice of appeal. The plaintiff presented several issues with the trial court’s decision, alleging that the trial judge made an error in rushing the jury’s decision, among other issues.

The Superior Court ruled that the plaintiff failed to prove that the trial court mistakenly reached its conclusion in the lawsuit. The Superior Court approved of the trial court’s decision and upheld the decision in favor of Chestnut Hill Hospital and the other defendant parties involved.

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Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas Superior Court of Pennsylvania