Lisa Zenzen Baker, 1961-2003


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