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ANNA MARIE CAPAN v. DIVINE PROVIDENCE HOSPITAL (09/19/79)

decided: September 19, 1979.

ANNA MARIE CAPAN, ADMINISTRATRIX OF THE ESTATE OF FRANK M. CAPAN, DECEASED, APPELLANT,
v.
DIVINE PROVIDENCE HOSPITAL, A CORPORATION, RAIMUND RUEGER, M.D., J. R. FRIDAY, M.D., G. RAY VILSACK, M.D., ROBERT CLEVENGER, M.D., ALFRED R. PRICE, M.D., INDIVIDUALS, DEFENDANTS, V. PHILIP POLLICE, M.D.



No. 791 April Term, 1978, Appeal from Judgment of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, Civil Division, at No. 1724 January Term, 1974

COUNSEL

Thomas W. Trimm, Pittsburgh, for appellant.

David H. Trushel, Pittsburgh, for appellee Vilsack, M.D.

George M. Weis, Pittsburgh, for appellee Divine Providence Hospital, a corporation.

Harry J. Zimmer, Pittsburgh, did not file a brief on behalf of appellees Rueger, M.D. and Clevenger, M.D.

Ronald H. Heck, Pittsburgh, for appellee Friday, M.D.

Bruce R. Martin, Pittsburgh, for appellee Pollice, M.D.

Cercone, Wieand and Hoffman, JJ. Wieand and Hoffman, JJ., concur in the result.

Author: Cercone

[ 270 Pa. Super. Page 131]

This is an appeal from the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County denying appellant's motions for new trial and motion to take off non-suits in wrongful death and survival actions. We affirm the decision of the lower court.

The decedent, Frank Capan, was admitted to Divine Providence Hospital on November 17, 1972 for treatment of a nosebleed. Appellee, Dr. Raimund Rueger, was the first physician to treat Frank. He packed his nose in gauze, prescribed some medication, and had Frank remain in the hospital. On November 19, Frank developed a rapid heartbeat

[ 270 Pa. Super. Page 132]

    and was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit. It was during this time that Frank went into delirium tremens, a condition arising due to the lack of alcohol, whereby he became violent and disturbed other patients. The remainder of the appellees, Doctors Friday, Vilsack, Clevenger, Price, and Pollice, treated Frank during this time, and several central nervous system depressants were prescribed in order to calm Frank's symptoms and rapid heartbeat.

On November 23, Frank became so boisterous that he was removed from the Intensive Care Unit and placed in his own room. The medical records for this day read that Frank was "again wild, screaming," and that he had a "poor day, combative." Later that day the medical records reflect that Frank became "very combative. Full cloth restraints, . . . belligerent, out of restraints, [and] unable to keep restraints on." During the afternoon of November 23, Dr. Pollice was called to Frank's room to help the nursing staff control him. Dr. Pollice was in the hospital at this time serving as the doctor "on call" to answer any emergencies that occurred in the hospital. Frank was treated with a series of drugs in an attempt to calm his actions. When Dr. Pollice left Frank at approximately 7:00 P.M., he seemed calmer and responding to the medication.

Dr. Pollice left the hospital at 7:40 P.M. and went to his sister's home for Thanksgiving dinner. Shortly after arriving there, he was called back to the hospital where the cardiopulmonary resuscitation team began working on Frank. Dr. Pollice aided in the resuscitation efforts, but Frank was declared dead at approximately 9:30 P.M. The cause of ...


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