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Should hospitals be held liable along with its acting agents for medical malpractice and wrongful death claims?

Mar 18, 2015 @ 09 : 12 am

Going into the hospital on a stretcher and coming out in a body bag. Should hospitals be held liable along with its acting agents for medical malpractice and wrongful death claims? That is the very question that attorney James W. Sutton, III, Esq.  of Vlasac & Shmaruk, LLC is asking the Supreme Court of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to reconsider for our case Green v. Pennsylvania Hospital . Joseph Fusco, the deceased, initially went into the hospital for shortness of breath, wheezing and rapid breathing. He was admitted into the intensive care unit. About a week into his stay, he was given a tracheotomy.  The following day, massive bleeding commenced from the trach site, due to the negligence of a nurse who failed to take the necessary precautions when she moved Mr. Fusco.

A team of emergency physicians were called in to attend to the patient. The responding ENT physician removed the trach tube and negligently reinserted it into the patient’s original trach site, rather than properly reinserting it through Mr. Fusco’s mouth.  The ENT placed the rube into Mr. Fusco’s thorax, rather than into his trachea and the team commenced “ambu-bagging” Mr. Fusco.  The air was forced around Mr. Fusco’s trachea (rather than into his trachea).  This caused Mr. Fusco’s trachea to be crushed and collapsed, asphyxiating the patient. Because the patient was in a long term same sex relationship and same sex marriages had not been legalized yet, his longtime partner was not provided the benefits of a spouse and therefore, could not file a wrongful death or loss of consortium claim seeking compensation for pecuniary damages. Hence, the claims were limited to survival claims of conscious pain and suffering.

During this trial, the attorneys of Vlasac & Shmaruk argued that the hospital should be held accountable along with its acting agents even though the hospital denied that the treating ENT was an employee of the hospital (the ENT was a resident at the time). The attorneys also argued that the testimony of the plaintiff’s expert witness as an experienced nurse should be permitted to prove the treating nurse’s initial negligence. Their request was denied, because, according to the trial court, the nurse was not qualified to give causation testimony. The trial court granted a motion for non-suit, finding that the hospital could not be held vicariously liable for the acts of the ENT. James W. Sutton, III, Esq. and John M. Vlasac, Jr., Esq.  filed an appeal against the judge’s decision shortly thereafter. The appellate attorney, Howard Bashman, Esq. who is acting on behalf of Vlasac & Shmaruk, LLC, is now arguing those two major points.  Why shouldn’t the hospital along with the doctors be held responsible, if the patient reasonably believes that the doctor is acting as an agent of the hospital? And why is it that a nurse cannot testify to the improper treatment of a patient to point out the other nurse’s negligence?  The Supreme Court was quite clear in recent oral arguments, that Plaintiff’s arguments were quite persuasive and our firm anticipates a favorable ruling from the Supreme Court in the next few months.

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485B Route 1 South Suite 120, Iselin

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  • Avatar I P ★★★★★ 9 months ago
    I can’t say enough about Vlasac & Shmaruk LLC and their commitment to providing the best service to their clients. Yelena Delgado made the process seamless and was always available for any questions or concerns. I felt like family every … More step of the way and not one of my questions went unanswered no matter what time of day I reached out. If you are looking for outstanding service, commitment to clients and an unmatched level of legal knowledge look no further than Vlasac & Shmaruk LLC!
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    About 4 months ago my wife got a job that came with housing. After going over all details and making plans for about 4 months prior to moving with management we packed up our whole lives, our pets, dropped some side jobs we had, and moved … More to the property where the job was located. After a few weeks things started getting very strange with management and "team" and after 2 full months everything that was planned in detail prior to moving to this property fell apart. After trying to discuss in person with management and then trying to discuss through email with management my wife was fired and we were given 5 days to pack up and leave the property. We had to start our lives over again. We immediately contacted Vlasac & Shmaruk LLC and worked with Ryan Getz & David Cassidy who are absolutely incredible at what they do! They were able to help us get off the property in a reasonable way and receive a settlement for all trouble caused by this "business". This was an incredibly stressful and scary situation but David and Ryan stayed in contact with us, were extremely patient, professional, soothing and just overly fantastic. If you are having any type of issue with an employement situation and being treated unfairly I highly recommend working with Ryan & David! I am so thankful they were able to take our case and help us through that mess. This was our first time having to hire legal help and I am just so grateful we found David and Ryan. In the future should we need any additional legal help we will absolutely be contacting them again. Thank you both so much!
  • Avatar G N ★★★★★ 5 months ago
    I’m highly recommend Vlasac & Shmaruk LLC!
    It was amazing to work with Yelena Kofman-Delgado ! Great customer service and professionalism. She is very responsible and keeps you updated on your case. Thank you so much!
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    My wife and I were involved in a motor vehicle accident. Vlasac and Shmaruk took care of everything. They walked us through the process and took care of all the paperwork. They reached a settlement and we were happy. Glad to put that … More behind us and glad we used Vlasac and Shmaruk to help us get the money we needed for a new car and to get our medical bills paid. Thanks for everything you did!!!!
  • Avatar Edward Negron ★★★★★ 4 months ago
    The Law Office of Vlasac & Shmaruk were very helpful, knowledgeable and caring of my unique situation and guided me step by step through the whole process until it was completed and approved. I'm very thankful and grateful that … More they represented me on my case.

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David B.
2022-07-12 14:38:24
I really appreciate what the entire law firm did for me on my case. They are really knowledgeable and handled the case very professionally. Our...
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Mr.Shmaruk helped me immensely in a legal predicament I was placed in. He was very knowledgeable and extremely helpful! I would 100 percent recommend him...