Lisa Zenzen Baker, 1961-2003


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Fatal landing

Estate of woman who died at
airport sues doctor, hospital

By David Baker
Posted Tuesday, Jan, 17, 2012

A woman who allegedly was told by a doctor after a surgery that it was safe to travel by air and who died after flying to an airport in the Midwest now has a lawsuit filed on her behalf.

According to legal papers, Tara Kathleen Palmer went to Samaritan Hospital in Troy where an operation on her right ankle was performed by James A. Slavin. After the surgery and discharge from the hospital, Palmer was complaining of fatigue, pain, swelling and restricted motion of her leg and in a telephone call and during an office visit, she asked Slavin if it was safe for her to fly to Boise, Id.

Slavin allegedly told her that it was.

The day after the office visit, Palmer died at the age of 31 in the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport, allegedly as a result of a pulmonary embolism – a blood clot or clots that traveled to her lungs and caused a blockage.

Also named in the suit is Burdett Orthopedics, Northeast Health, Inc. and Samaritan Hospital, which allegedly failed to provide a working pneumatic compression device.

The same allegation is made against Slavin but it’s not clear from the legal documents if it’s alleged that Palmer was given no such device or was given one that didn’t work.

A check of the Times Union archives produed only an obituary, which says Palmer held a masters degree in education from Russell Sage College, and had taught at Head Start and at the Ark Community Charter School, both in Troy.

The lawsuit was filed by Christina Commisso of O’Connell & Aronowitz in Albany. The filing would appear to create an ethical conflict; the Albany law firm also is representing Northeast Health Laboratories in a case against the state Health Department.

The suit against Slavin and the co-defendants was filed in November 2011. The suit has not yet been logged into the court’s computer system. Information about the defendants’ attorneys was not immediately available.