PHILADELPHIA – A woman who sued Pottstown Memorial Medical Center on behalf of a friend who died there has lost her court battle, with the state Superior Court ruling June 30 the lower court didn’t abuse its discretion about what medical evidence to allow.

The court ruled against Jennifer Black, the executrix of the estate of Ana T. Ravelo-Ortiz, in her lawsuit against Dr. Drew P. Ronnermann and Pottstown Memorial Medical Center. The lawsuit was filed in the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County. 

Black argued that the trial court erred in denying her objections to evidentiary rulings. Judge James Fitzgerald wrote the opinion affirming the lower court’s rulings.

Black filed suit against Dr. Ronnermann and Pottstown Memorial Medical Center claiming that Ravelo-Ortiz was improperly diagnosed and treated for a colon condition at the hospital.

After hearing evidence in a long trial in April 2015, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Dr. Ronnermann and Pottstown Memorial Medical Center. The direct corporate negligence claim against the hospital was dismissed, but the claim that the hospital was responsible for the doctor’s actions by failing to properly credential and supervise Dr. Ronnermann remained.

Black filed for a new trial arguing that the trial court had not allowed Dr. Thomas Bojko to testify about the hospital’s corporate negligence. In September 2015 that request was denied.

The appellate court agreed that Dr. Bojko didn’t address whether breaching the standard of care had resulted in the death of Ravelo-Ortiz. 

The ruling by the appellate court states, “Appellant’s expert, Dr. Bojko, opined that PMMC deviated from the standard of care but did not establish that the deviation was a substantial factor in bringing about decedent’s harm.” In regard to negligence, the opinion states, “Appellant failed to establish a cause of action for corporate negligence.”

Black had also argued that the hospital’s radiologist had been negligent in the death of Ravelo-Ortiz because the radiologist, Dr. Anil Bhardwaj, had misinterpreted the CT Scan of Ravelo-Ortiz. Black argued that Bhardwaj had deviated from the standard of care. Bhardwaj also repeatedly failed his board certification exams, Black pointed out. 

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