$3.5M Settlement in Death of Woman Due to Errant Medical Diagnosis

The family of a Scranton woman who died from an apparent heart attack in a hospital in 2012 after her condition was misdiagnosed as pneumonia has reached a $3.5 million settlement with two doctors and the hospital where she was being treated.

Kristine Coleman, 41, a mother of two children, had been admitted to Geisinger Community Medical Center in Scranton on Feb. 6, 2012, complaining of severe left shoulder pain which was radiating down her arm, according to an Aug. 5 story by The (Scranton) Times-Tribune.

Coleman, who worked as a dietary technician at Allied Services, was given a cardiac evaluation at the hospital, to determine whether she was suffering from blocked arteries, but the pending test was “inexplicably canceled” by a doctor, the story reported. The test was never rescheduled. The patient was discharged from the hospital on Feb. 16 but readmitted on Feb. 20, complaining of shortness of breath and pain in her left shoulder and arm. Less than six hours later, she went into full cardiac arrest in the hospital and died.

The victim’s husband, Thomas Coleman, filed a lawsuit in January of 2014 connection with her death, alleging that the hospital and two doctors – Chua Fe Huang and Paul Dubiel – had failed to properly diagnose his wife’s heart condition, which caused her death on Feb. 21, 2012. Dubiel, who was the emergency room physician, “failed to recognize the woman’s life-threatening condition, diagnosing her instead with pneumonia,” the story reported. The victim’s undiagnosed heart attack was confirmed by an autopsy.

The settlement was approved by Judge James Gibbons during a hearing in Lackawanna County Court.

Medical malpractice

Photo credit: iStockphoto.com/courtneyk

About $2 million of the settlement will be paid by the defendants’ insurers, with the remaining $1.5 million coming from the state Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Fund, or Mcare. About $1.91 million of the settlement will go to the estate of Mrs. Coleman. Half of that plus $30,000 will go to Thomas Coleman, with the balance going into trust funds for their two children, Hunter, 18, and Brianna, 15.

These kinds of cases are a somber reminder that patients and their families must be vigilant about the medical care they receive so they know what is being done for a patient’s care every step of the way. But at the same time, patients and families aren’t doctors and they can’t know every question to ask.

That’s where skilled, expert, compassionate and thorough legal representation is needed by patients and their families who have been harmed by medical malpractice and errors or omissions during their treatment. These kinds of cases happen on a regular basis, but they can be fought by legal teams that are prepared to battle for their clients’ rights all along the way to a fair settlement or to a just verdict.

We here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in a similar medical malpractice, birth injury or related case anywhere in the United States. We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.

Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-789-9346 or toll-free at 1-866-920-0352 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.

When Winning Matters Most, Call MyPhillyLawyer.