Lisa Zenzen Baker, 1961-2003


Friday, July 29, 2011

Wrongful death case settled

Hospital pays $75K

for alleged fatal fall

By David Baker
Posted Friday, July 29, 2011

A lawsuit which alleges that an elderly and infirm resident of a nursing home who had been taken to the emergency room at Samaritan Hospital and then, after being left unattended, fell, breaking a hip and who died six days later has been settled.

According to the wrongful-death suit filed by John McCarty on behalf of his mother’s estate, Sally McCarty, 81, had dementia and was acting erratically and irrationally when she was transported by ambulance to the hospital from the Van Rensselaer Nursing home in North Greenbush for a mental health evaluation.

“Sally McCarty was not property treated at Samaritan Hospital Emergency Department, upon information and belief, in that she was left alone, unattended, unsupervised,” the suit says. “She was permitted to walk about the hospital without assistance and supervision and while doing so, fell and fractured her hip.”

McCarty’s health deteriorated, according the suit, and she died in Samaritan Hospital six days after the fall.

The suit alleges that in dealing with McCarty, staff ignored several of the hospital’s own protocols, including a ‘generic (high risk behavior, restraint management protocol),’ and a ‘mental health protocol.”

A document filed in the suit says that despite repeated requests, the hospital failed to provide a copy of its accident report on McCarty’s fall

The lawsuit was settled in March 2005 for $75,000.

The McCarty estate was represented by Denis R. Hurley of Conway & Kirby of Niskayuna. Samaritan Hospital’s lawyer was Karen Butler of Carter, Conboy, Case, Blackmore, Maloney & Laird in Albany.

A search of the archives of the Albany Times Union produced no indication the that lawsuit was reported by the newspaper.

Lawyers get almost as much as
the claimant in hospital fall case

Of the $75,000 paid by Samaritan Hospital in the Sally McCarty wrongful-death case, less than one-third went to the deceased woman’s estate. Medical and nursing home liens, legal costs and lawyers’ fees took the rest.

The distribution, according to an affidavit filed in the case, was as follows:

Rensselaer Country Department of Social Services Medicaid program (toward services provided prior to the fall: $25,000.

Reimbursement to Medicare for medical care following the fall: $2,473

Legal costs (filing fees, stenographers for depositions, etc.: $2,677.

Attorneys’ fees - 30 percent of net recovery (total settlement minus legal expenses): $21,697.

Remainder paid to Sally McCarty’s estate: $23,152.

– David Baker


Fall claim over

Nursing home fall lawsuit
settled with $125K payout

By David Baker
Posted Friday, July 29, 2011

The estate of a 90-year-old woman who died after a fall in a nursing home received part of a $125,000 settlement of a lawsuit against Northeast Health Inc.

According to legal papers, Helen L. Remington was a resident of the Eddy-Ford Geriatric Center in Troy in 2005 when she fell, fracturing a hip. She died in Samaritan Hospital six days after the fall, allegedly as a result of her injuries.

In 2008, the claim of negligence was settled. After legal fees of $36,264 and expenses totaling $16,209, the estate received $52,477.

The lawyer for the estate was Sean J. Doolan of Windham, Greene County. The defendants were represented by Thorn, Gershon, Tymann & Bonanni of Albany.

The only result produced by a search of the Times Union archives was Remington’s obituary.

Fatal fall alleged

Troy nursing home lawsuit settled

By David Baker
Posted July 29, 2011

A lawsuit alleging that a resident of the Eddy Heritage House nursing home in Troy who had history of falling died as a result of injuries she received in a fall has been settled.

According to a lawsuit filed against the nursing home and its parent company, Northeast Health, Yvette Dall fell in September 2005. As a result, the suit says, she received numerous injuries, including fractures, lacerations and contusions.

Dall died in June 2007. The suit alleges that her death was a direct result of the injuries she received in the fall.

A recent entry on the court’s Web site indicates that the case has ended with a settlement. Details of it will be obtained shortly and added to this story, which will then be re-posted.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Case settled

Blood-thinner-overdose lawsuit

ends with $350,000 settlement

By David Baker
Posted July 8, 2011

A wrongful-death lawsuit in which Samaritan Hospital in Troy and a doctor were alleged to have caused an 88-year-old man to twice receive huge doses of a blood thinner has been settled.

The hospital and anesthesiologist Dr. Ike A. Boka agreed to pay $350,000 to the estate of Joseph P. Bartoski of Troy.

Bartoski died in June 2009 at the hospital. According to the lawsuit, and to documents obtained from the state Department of Health, Boka used a medication dispenser already in place to administer a drug, without first flushing out the blood thinner heparin from a port on the device. Bartoski then began bleeding from the mouth and nose, and from the site of an incision.

A short time later, as doctors and nurses were trying to stop the bleeding, a nurse used another port on the dispenser to administer another medication – again without first flushing out the heparin.

Flushing out the ports before use is required by a written hospital protocol.

According to Health Department documents, both Boka and the nurse acknowledged failing to flush the ports. Boka said he was unaware of the need to flush the device. The nurse said she knew of the protocol but didn’t know why she didn’t flush the port before administering a medication to Bartoski.

Despite these admissions, Boka and Samaritan Hospital contested a lawsuit filed in March 2010 on behalf of Bartoski’s widow, Dorothy.

The suit was reported here in July 2010. In May, a story posted here reported that the state Health Department had conducted an investigation and concluded that Boka and Samaritan Hospital staff had failed to meet the standard of care.

The hospital was assessed no fine or other penalty but was required to submit a ‘plan of correction.” It did so, but details of it were completely blacked out in documents obtained under the state's Freedom of Information Law.

Joseph Bartoski’s estate was represented by Daniel Santola of Powers & Santola of Albany. The defendants’ lawyers were Kathleen Ryan of D’Agostinio, Krackeler, McGuire & Cardona in Menands, and Christine Napierski of Napierski, Vandenburgh, Napierski & O’Connor of Albany.

A search of the archives of the Times Union produced no indication the that Bartoski case has ever been mentioned by the paper.

Related stories:

Lawsuit filed

Health Department probe




Ask – but don’t tell

The silence of the Times Union on the Bartoski case is consistent with its apparent – and undenied – policy of not reporting lawsuits filed against some of its advertisers. But the continuing absence of a story on this lawsuit in particular is curious, because last year a reporter at the paper asked about the case after seeing a story on this site.

The reporter, Cathleen Crowley, sent an e-mail just after the filing of the Bartoski lawsuit was reported here. Crowley said she had tried to locate details of the case on the court’s Web page but had been unable to find it.

An e-mail was sent back, explaining that cases are not listed on the court system’s Web site until a request has been made by one of the parties for ‘judicial intervention.’ This, it was explained, is often several months after a complaint is filed. Until then, documents in the case are available at the office of the county clerk in the county of filing as soon as they are filed.

Along with this e-mail to Crowley, a copy of the Bartoski complaint was sent as an attachment. But Crowley did not acknowledge it, so a week or so later, a Twitter Direct Message, asking if she had received, it was sent.

Crowley replied, saying: “Hi David. Yes I received the info. Thanks for sending it along. I hope to find some time to look into it. Thanks. c.”

That sounded like a brush off, and apparently it was: To this day, there has been no further communication from the reporter. And neither she or anyone else at the TU has published a story about the Bartoski case, or about any of the other medical-malpractice lawsuits filed since then against the paper’s advertisers.

–David Baker