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WILLIAM T. LAURSEN v. GENERAL HOSPITAL MONROE COUNTY AND ELMO J. LILLI AND RAMON B. MOLINA (10/20/78)

decided: October 20, 1978.

WILLIAM T. LAURSEN, APPELLANT,
v.
GENERAL HOSPITAL OF MONROE COUNTY AND ELMO J. LILLI AND RAMON B. MOLINA



NO. 1863 OCTOBER TERM, 1977, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Monroe County, Civil Division, at No. 281 April Term, 1971

COUNSEL

Martin S. Rothman, New York City, for appellant.

L. M. Ludwig, Scranton, with him H. J. McMenamin, Scranton, for appellee, General Hospital of Monroe County.

Rudolph Zieger, Jr., Allentown, for appellees, Lilli and Molina.

Jacobs, President Judge, and Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort, Spaeth and Hester, JJ. Hoffman and Spaeth, JJ., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case.

Author: Van Der Voort

[ 259 Pa. Super. Page 152]

This is an appeal from the refusal of the court below either to lift a compulsory non-suit or to permit appellant to amend his Complaint. The litigation involves a claim of medical malpractice against Drs. Elmo J. Lilli and Ramon B. Molina and General Hospital of Monroe County (hereinafter, Monroe General Hospital), appellees herein.

The background facts out of which this dispute arose are as follows: Between 1964 and March, 1970, the appellant was treated from time to time for a variety of disabilities by Dr. Elmo J. Lilli or his medical partner, Dr. Ramon B. Molina. On several occasions this involved hospitalization at Monroe General Hospital.

Appellant's first professional contact with Dr. Lilli was in 1964 when he called on the doctor for a general checkup. At that time appellant was 55 years of age and Dr. Lilli found him to be suffering from atrial fibrilation (irregular heartbeat) and mild hypertension. Appellant informed Dr. Lilli at that time that he had suffered from the irregular heartbeat for several years but had not been hospitalized. From this initial visit until the end of 1967, appellant continued to see one or the other of the appellee doctors on almost a monthly basis. In December, 1967, appellant had a non-functioning gallbladder removed.

Appellant visited Dr. Lilli on five occasions in 1968 and was treated for high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat and several upper respiratory infections. In January, 1969, appellant

[ 259 Pa. Super. Page 153]

    developed diabetes. In May and June of that year he was treated for pneumonia and bronchitis.

On September 28, 1969, appellant was admitted to Monroe General Hospital and was diagnosed by Dr. Lilli as having an arteriosclerotic heart disease and angina pectoris, or more simply stated, coronary insufficiency and angina, in addition to his diabetes. During this hospitalization he was treated with numerous drugs for his several ailments, including Demerol, Isodil, Digitalis, Liserdal, Nitroglycerin, Phenobarbital, Peri-Colace, Seconal, Phenergan and Orinase. The last mentioned drug was given to control appellant's diabetic condition. Testing of the appellant indicated no damage to the heart at that time. Appellant was discharged from the hospital in October of 1969 but continued on drug medication consisting of Digitalis, Peritrate, Nitroglycerin and Orinase.

Appellant visited Dr. Lilli on October 20, 1969, at which time the Orinase was discontinued and the other medication continued with the exception of Peritrate for which Isodil, a similar drug, was substituted. Appellant visited Dr. Lilli on November 3 and December 8, 1969, and January 5, 1970, but there were no new developments and the same medication was continued.

On January 21, 1970, appellant again visited Dr. Lilli, this time complaining of chest pain radiating to his arms. The pain was not associated with sweating or weakness and although results of an EKG evidenced continued coronary insufficiency there was no sign of a heart attack.

On January 25 the appellant was hospitalized and was again examined and treated by both Drs. Lilli and Molina. On this occasion, in addition to his coronary insufficiency, he was found to have suffered myocardial infarction or, in less technical terms, a heart attack. During this hospitalization, in addition to appellant's continued medication for his coronary insufficiency, he was for the first time treated for his myocardial infarction with a drug known as Coumadin, a blood thinner given to reduce the chance of thrombosis in coronary arteries. Appellant was discharged from this hospitalization

[ 259 Pa. Super. Page 154]

    on February 7, 1970, and his medication continued with the prescription of Digitalis for his coronary insufficiency along with ...


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