Lisa Zenzen Baker, 1961-2003


Monday, December 01, 2014

Death of a salesman

Indications of fatal heart
attack allegedly missed

By David Baker
Posted Nov. Dec. 1, 2014
368 words

The widow of a man who had a heart attack and died in St. Mary’s Hospital in Troy, N.Y. has filed a lawsuit alleging that a failure to properly monitor his condition caused his death.

Pamela J. Higgins filed the claim in state Supreme Court, Rensselaer County on July 29 as administrator of the estate of Victor S. Higgins, Jr. of Troy.

Named as defendants are four physicians: Kathleen M. Crisafulli, Stephen J. Sokaris, Claudia L. Quinonez and Robert Boska; three medical organizations: Pegasus Emergency Medicine,  Troy N.Y., Pegasus Emergency Group, and Hospitalist Medicine Physicians of New York.  Also named are St. Mary’s Hospital, Seton Health Systems, Catholic Health East and St. Peter’s Health Partners.

According to legal papers, Higgins was seen in the hospital’s emergency room on July 30, 2012 complaining of shortness of breath, a swollen stomach and constipation.  He was admitted and placed in a bed on a regular ward, where, on August 7, he died.

The cause of death, according to the suit, was ‘…cardiopulmonary arrest, sepsis and anoxic encephalopathy.”

The suit alleges that the defendants “…failed to timely, accurately and property evaluate and diagnose the nature and extent of the decedent’s true condition and failed to timely and properly treat that condition and failed to provide proper and heightened monitoring and management.”

The claim was filed by attorney E. Stewart Jones of Troy.  As has been noted elsewhere on this page, Jones has for several years filed lawsuits with a summons with notice, which provide only a very brief description of the nature of the claim.

But the complaint in this case runs to 13 pages, although only two paragraphs – from which the quoted words above were taken – describe the events surrounding the alleged negligence.  The rest of it is text establishing the relationship between the various parties and the duty of care each owed the patient.

The complaint doesn’t give Higgins’ age, but an obituary notice says he was a 1977 graduate of Lansingburgh High School and for 30 years was an independent salesman for the Friehofer Baking company.  It lists as one of his  survivors his wife, Pamela Higgins.

Representing the defendants is the Albany law firm O’Connor, O’Connor, Bresee & First.