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Audrey Stresky vs. David P. Fowler, East Suburban Orthopedic Associates, Forbes Regional Hospital and David S. Girdany

Supplement to The Lawyers Journal


On June 26, 2001, Plaintiff Audrey Stresky, then age seventy-nine, was admitted to Defendant Forbes Regional Hospital under the care of Defendant David S. Girdany and his employer East Suburban Orthopedic Associates for a total hip replacement. There were multiple attempts required for spinal anesthesia. Dr. Girdany then performed a total hip replacement. Mrs. Stresky was prescribed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs as well as an anti-coagulant medication, Lovenox. The Physicians Desk Reference warns of the possibility of spinal hematoma with the use of Lovenox in conjunction with spinal anesthesia, with the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and when multiple attempts at spinal anesthesia are required.

When Mrs. Stresky began experiencing pressure and pain her back on June 28th, nothing was done. Dr. Girdany disputed claims that he was informed of Mrs. Stresky's symptoms. Mrs. Stresky also began to experience significant neurological symptoms, including a lack of sensation and motor problems in her lower extremities, as well as bladder incontinence. Defendant David Fowler, M.D., evaluated Mrs. Stresky and ordered an emergency MRI to check for a spinal bleed. But Dr. Fowler then left the hospital and the MRI was not performed until 8:25 p.m. That test revealed a subdural bleed. When Dr. Fowler learned of the MRI results, he ordered a neurosurgical consultation. Dr. Bonaroti, a neurosurgeon, recognized that Mrs. Stresky required an emergency laminectomy for drainage of the hematoma but the Hospital had no operating room available. Dr. Bonaroti sent Mrs. Stresky by helicopter to Allegheny General Hospital where she underwent a laminectomy and drainage of the hematoma. Her condition did not improve and she is currently paraplegic.

The jury found for the Plaintiff in the amount of $3.5 million, consisting of $2.5 million in medical expenses and $1 million for pain and suffering. The jury found the Hospital to be 83% negligent and Dr. Girdany 17% negligent; the jury found that Dr. Fowler had not been negligent. Judge Lutty molded the verdict to reflect the addition of approximately $150,000 in delay damages.

COURT Common Pleas
JURY VERDICT Plaintiff: $3.5 million
DATE 2/9/2004
ATTORNEY(S) Neil R. Rosen and Jon R. Perry
DEFENSE ATTORNEY(S) Alan Baum (Fowler and East Suburban);
Brian O'Connor (Girdany);
Robert Pfaff (Forbes Regional)
TYPE OF CASE Medical Malpractice
EXPERTS: Plaintiff(s): Dr. Henry Bohlman (orthopedic
surgeon); Dr. Richard bonfiglioli (Rehabilita-
tive medicine); Donna Micklow (lifecare
Defendant(s): Dr. Victor Thomas (orthopedic
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