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GEISINGER MEDICAL CENTER v. FREDERICK L. FISHER (04/17/80)

decided: April 17, 1980.

GEISINGER MEDICAL CENTER, PETITIONER
v.
FREDERICK L. FISHER, ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ESTATE OF RICK L. FISHER, DECEASED, ALEXANDER EWING & ASSOCIATES AND PPG INDUSTRIES, INC., RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Administrator for Arbitration Panels for Health Care in case of Frederick L. Fisher, Administrator of the Estate of Rick L. Fisher, deceased v. Geisinger Medical Center, No. M78-0145, Montour County.

COUNSEL

Christian S. Erb, Jr., Metzger, Wickersham, Knauss & Erb, for petitioner.

Richard C. Angino, with him Benjamin & Angino, P.C., for Frederick L. Fisher, respondent.

Richard A. Gray, Mitchell & Mitchell, for Alexander Ewing and Associates, respondent.

James K. Thomas, II, with him R. Burke McLemore, Jr., of Thomas & Thomas, for PPG Industries, Inc., respondents.

President Judge Crumlish and Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers, Blatt, Craig and Williams, Jr. Judge MacPhail did not participate. Opinion by Judge Craig. Judge Williams, Jr. dissents.

Author: Craig

[ 50 Pa. Commw. Page 579]

This is an appeal by Geisinger Medical Center (Geisinger) from the decision of the Administrator for Arbitration Panels for Health Care sustaining preliminary objections of Alexander Ewing & Associates (Ewing) and PPG Industries, Inc. (PPG) to Geisinger's complaint to join them as additional defendants in a medical malpractice action filed by Frederick Fisher, administrator of the estate of Rick Fisher (plaintiff) against Geisinger under the Health Care Services Malpractice Act.*fn1

[ 50 Pa. Commw. Page 580]

Plaintiff originally filed a complaint with the arbitration panel on February 23, 1978 alleging that decedent's death was a direct result of Geisinger's negligence.

Decedent, admitted to the Geisinger Center on March 27, 1977 complaining of hallucinations, suicidal thoughts, and demonic possession, died a few hours later as a result of injuries suffered when he plunged through a second floor window at the Geisinger Center. Plaintiff's complaint alleges that Geisinger's failure to supervise and restrain decedent and to guard the windows, on a floor which was specifically designed to treat psychiatric patients, was the proximate cause of decedent's death and constituted the negligent delivery of medical services.

On June 21, 1978, Geisinger petitioned for permission to join Ewing, the architectural firm as to the center's specially-designed second floor mental health facility, as an additional defendant before the arbitration panel. On January 23, 1979, Geisinger further petitioned to join PPG as an additional defendant, alleging that, as manufacturer of the glass used in the center's windows, advertising that glass as designed to prevent egress and ideal for protective windows in mental health institutions, PPG had either breached expressed or implied warranties, or manufactured a defective product and, therefore, PPG was liable over to Geisinger for indemnity or contribution.

On May 16, 1979, on preliminary objections from PPG, the administrator transferred Geisinger's claims against both additional defendants to the Common Pleas Court of Montour County, and specifically ordered the plaintiff's case against Geisinger remain ...


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