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$7,213,200.00 Medical Malpractice Verdict in Failure to Treat Gastric Bleeding Resulting in Death of a 60 Year Old Cranberry Woman

 Margaret Mahunik, a 60 year old Cranberry resident, underwent successful hip surgery. Needing some physical rehabilitation, post-surgery, she was transferred and admitted to Suburban General Hospital's Rehabilitation Unit for what was anticipated to be a 10 to 14 day stay. There, she came under the care of Yvette Ross Hebron, M.D. a psychiatrist and employee of Choice Care Physicians, P.C., a medical practice that provided physicians for the Rehabilitation Unit.

While at Suburban General, Ms. Mahunik was prescribed and administered two medications, Solumedrol, a steroid, and Ecotrin, a form of aspirin on a daily basis. Each medication is known to be a gastric irritant, that is, can cause gastrointestinal bleeding. Combined, the medications present an even greater risk of gastrointestinal bleeding. Despite this known risk, Dr. Ross Hebron did not discontinue these medications, monitor Ms. Mahunik for gastrointestinal bleeding, such as ordering blood work or order an additional medication to protect her stomach lining.

Within days of her stay on the Rehabilitation Unit, Ms. Mahunik began showing signs and symptoms consistent with developing a gastrointestinal bleed. To compound matters, Dr. Ross Hebron had previously given her notice to Choice Care that she was leaving the group. Her last day of work occurred in the middle of Ms. Mahunik admission. Tragically, no transfer of Ms. Mahunik care to another physician in the practice occurred, and Ms. Mahunik went unseen by a Choice Care physician for three days while her condition worsened. Tragically, Ms. Mahunik suffered a massive gastrointestinal bleed, had to be transferred to the Intensive Care Unit where she died two days later.

Ms. Mahunik was survived by her six children. Representing her daughter, Carol Hyrcza, we brought a medical malpractice wrongful death civil action in Allegheny County. The trial lasted 7 days. The jury reached a verdict in favor of Ms. Mahunik's family and against Defendants, Dr. Ross Hebron and her employer, Choice Care Physicians. The jury awarded damages for Ms. Mahunik's pain and suffering in the amount of $1,830,000 and damages to her six children of $5,383,200 for a total award of $7,213,200.

Post-trial, over a two year period, defendants filed post-trial motions with the trial court and appeals with Pennsylvania's Superior and Supreme Court contesting the verdict and award. We successfully defeated each appeal, and at the conclusion, the Court, after adding post-judgment interest and delay damages, entered judgment in our client's favor in an amount totaling $10,172,856.00. The entire judgment was recovered from the Defendants' insurance carriers.