Lisa Zenzen Baker, 1961-2003


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Hospital fights on

Memorial Hospital lawsuit 
 gets February trial  date

By David Baker
Posted Wednesday Oct. 10, 2012

A trail date has been set in a lawsuit in which it is alleged that the failure of nursing staff at Albany Memorial Hospital to follow both a doctor’s orders and a hospital protocol left a woman permanently injured and disfigured.

The lawsuit, first reported on this page in May 2011, was filed by Karen Rogers.  According to legal papers, Rogers went to Memorial Hospital after falling from a stepladder. An examination found two fractures of Rogers’ leg;  surgery was performed and an emergency room physician noted that she was at risk for compartment syndrome, which is a potentially dangerous buildup of pressure in pockets of tissue near the injury.  But despite that, and Rogers’ complaints during the night of several symptoms of the condition, nursing staff allegedly failed to contact a physician or to carry out hourly neuromuscular checks which had been ordered by the physician and are required every four hours by a hospital protocol.

The next morning, the surgeon who had treated the fractures examined Rogers and immediately performed surgery. This involved making four, 8-inch incisions to relieve the pressure, which had caused permanent muscle loss, requiring a skin graft and leaving extensive scars.

According to the suit, the state Department of Health issued a ‘statement of deficiencies’ against the hospital.  But despite this finding, the lawsuit has continued.  It is set for trial in state Supreme Court, Albany County on Feb. 19, 2013.

The Rogers case is not the first time that Northeast Health Inc. – the operator of Albany Memorial Hospital – has continued to fight a lawsuit after the state has found its care deficient.  In 2004, Alec McKenzie died in Samaritan Hospital in Troy following a low blood glucose reading after nursing staff allegedly failed to follow a doctor’s orders and the hospital’s own protocol requiring monitoring of his glucose level.  Later that same year, the health department found the hospital deficient.  But it continue to fight a claim brought by McKenzie’s widow for three more years, until settling in 2007 for $350,000.

And in 2009, Joseph Bartoski died in Samaritan Hospital after a doctor and a nurse each separately gave him a huge dose of a blood thinner.  Both admitted to health department investigators that they had failed to flush out the anti-clotting agent from a medication dispenser as required before administering another fluid.  But despite those admissions, the hospital and the doctor continued to deny responsibility for the death until agreeing to a settlement of  $125,000 two years later – and two weeks before trial.

Each of these cases was reported in several stories on this page; none of them have ever been mentioned by the area’s newspapers.

The state's investigation - read the story HERE