Citizens General resolves lawsuit. Woman claimed stroke symptoms misdiagnosed

By Joe Mandak
Staff Writer

Citizens General Hospital in New Kensington reached an out-of-court settlement Wednesday in a $1.2 million lawsuit filed by an Indiana Township woman.

The woman claimed a serious prestroke condition was misdiagnosed by former emergency room physician Shaista N. Toor.

Elizabeth L. Wilson was 49 when she went to the hospital March 4, 1991, complaining of a headache with cold-like symptoms, disorientation and slurred speech, the suit said.

According to Wilson’s suit, Toor diagnosed her as having a sinus infection and sent her home with cough syrup, Tylenol and an antihistamine.

The following day, Wilson suffered a severe stroke which was diagnosed in Westmoreland Hospital, Greensburg. Wilson was hospitalized for more than a month and remains partially paralyzed on her left side, and unable to care for herself without a live-in helper, the suit said.

Citizens General Hospital had no information to release on the settlement, said Carol Johnston, the hospitals director of community relations.

A summons filed with Wilson’s suit, showed that Westmoreland County sheriff’s deputies couldn’t locate Toor in August 1991, and said she no longer worked at the hospital.

Reached Thursday evening, Toor said Wilson’s family physician should have been the one to handle the case.

“I should not have been involved as the emergency room physician because anybody can come in with those symptoms,” Toor said.

The hospital’s attorney, Scott Glassmith, didn’t return calls for comment.

Wilson also couldn’t be reached. Wilson’s lawyer, Neil Rosen, wouldn’t disclose the size of the settlement, but said “the purpose of the suit was achieved … and encompassed things (requested) … in our pre-trial statements.”

The most prominent damages Wilson sought were:

  • $275,000 in potential lost wages. Wilson worked as a bartender/waitress at an unnamed social club in Springdale and was deprived of working another 12 years or so because other injuries, the suit said.
  • She also sought $460,000 for a live-in companion – at the rate of $300 a week – to help her care for herself the rest of her life.

Rosen said Wilson “is very happy” with the settlement.