After several days of testimony in a medical malpractice lawsuit, an undisclosed settlement was reached between the family of the defendant, a 26-year old physician, and the health center where she died. In a sad twist of fate, the physician, a recent graduate of the Commonwealth Medical College in Pennsylvania, had just become a resident in the pediatrics program at the hospital in which she died – Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center.
The physician, Jennifer Sidari, was admitted to the hospital on May 26, 2013, due to bruising and headaches. Blood tests indicated the possibility of a blood clot, yet diagnostic scans of Sidari’s brain were not ordered until two days later. In the meantime, Sidari was exhibiting other alarming symptoms, such as repeatedly missing a certain letter while typing, and having trouble turning pages.
During the three days of trial before the case was settled, jurors heard from 2 physician assistants and the attending physician who testified that they were considering ailments including brain swelling, an infection, or a blood platelet disorder until hours before Sidari died. When the attending physician finally ordered a CT brain scan on May 28th, 2 days after Sidari entered the hospital, it revealed a blood clot in Sidari’s brain.
When asked by the plaintiff’s attorney whether the condition was potentially very serious and demanded urgent action, the attending physician stated “she wasn’t in any distress, so even if there was a clot there, there are people who have (a clot) who are stable.” However, later that afternoon Sidari became verbally unresponsive and died of a brain hemorrhage the following day. The hospital denied that it had strayed from the accepted standard of care, and the witnesses who testified prior to the case settling maintained that they had acted properly in the treatment of Sidari. The plaintiff’s attorney planned to argue that Sidari was a rising star in the medical field and had she lived to complete a 40-year career, she could have earned millions of dollars per year. Had the jury agreed with this argument, the defendants could have faced a multi-million dollar verdict. It is unknown how much the settlement was in this case.