Failure to diagnose, timely treat pneumonia

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Case in Point

September 17, 2013

Failure to diagnose, timely treat pneumonia 

The estate of a pregnant woman who died of bilateral pneumonia alleged that an obstetrician who treated her at the hospital should have ordered a chest X-ray and other tests and administered aggressive treatment. The jury awarded about $1.95 million. Casiano v. Dolan.

In the third trimester of her pregnancy, Mary Casiano, 25, developed fever, coughing, shortness of breath, and other symptoms. She went to a hospital, where obstetrician Shaliz Dolan diagnosed a virus, prescribed an oral antibiotic, and ordered fluids. Casiano was then discharged.

Her condition continued to worsen, and she returned to the hospital a few days later. A chest X-ray revealed bilateral pneumonia. Despite treatment, Casiano fell into a coma and died within the next several weeks. She is survived by her two minor children, one of whom was delivered via emergency cesarean section before Casiano’s death.

Casiano’s estate sued Dolan, alleging failure to timely diagnose and treat pneumonia by ordering a chest X-ray and other tests and administering aggressive treatment. Suit did not claim lost income.

The jury awarded about $1.95 million.

Citation: Casiano v. Dolan, No. 3678 (Pa., Phila. Co. Com. Pleas July 2, 2013).

Plaintiff counsel: AAJ members Lawrence R. Cohan and David J. Carney, both of Philadelphia.

Plaintiff experts: Ian Newmark, pulmonology, Syosset, N.Y.; Royal Bunin, economics, Wynnewood, Pa.; Albert Thomas, obstetrics, New York City; and Philip Spergel, vocational rehabilitation, Jenkintown, Pa.

Defense experts: Mark Ingerman, infectious disease, Wynnewood; and Arnold Cohen, obstetrics, and Gregory Kane, pulmonology, both of Philadelphia.

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