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WILLIAM T. LAURSEN v. GENERAL HOSPITAL MONROE COUNTY AND ELMO J. LILLI AND RAMON B. MOLINA (07/02/81)

decided: July 2, 1981.

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



No. 137 January Term, 1979, Appeal from Judgment of Superior Court at No. 1863 October Term, 1977, Affirming Order of Court of Common Pleas of Monroe County, Civil Division, at No. 281 April Term, 1971

COUNSEL

Martin Rothman, Paul McMahon, for appellant.

Rudolph Zieger, Jr., Allentown, for E. J. Lilli & R. B. Molina.

Donald H. Lipson, Allentown, Lawrence M. Ludwig, Scranton, for General Hospital.

Roberts, Nix, Larsen, Flaherty, Kauffman and Wilkinson, JJ. O'Brien, C. J., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case.

Author: Wilkinson

[ 494 Pa. Page 240]

OPINION OF THE COURT

This is an appeal from a judgment of the Superior Court affirming the Court of Common Pleas of Monroe County's order refusing to lift the compulsory non-suit entered against appellant. We reverse and remand with instructions.

On June 4, 1971 appellant filed a medical malpractice suit against appellees, Elmo J. Lilli and Ramon B. Molina, his attending physicians, and the General Hospital of Monroe County (hospital) whose facilities were used in the treatment of appellant. The following facts can be gleaned from depositions of the doctors and appellant's answer to interrogatories.

Between 1964 and September 1969 the appellant was treated at different times by the appellee-doctors for various disabilities including an irregular heartbeat, hypertension, diabetes, a non-functioning gall bladder, and upper respiratory infections. On September 28, 1969 appellant was admitted to the hospital and was diagnosed by Dr. Lilli as having arteriosclerotic heart disease (coronary insufficiency) and angina. At his deposition, Dr. Lilli stated that tests seemed to indicate that no damage to the heart had occurred.

[ 494 Pa. Page 241]

During this hospitalization, which lasted until October 8, 1969, appellant was treated with numerous medications for his various ailments. He continued to take some of them upon discharge. Appellant saw Dr. Lilli several weeks after his discharge and once early in each of the following months of November, December, and January. Basically no change in treatment occurred. On January 21, 1970 appellant again saw Dr. Lilli and complained of chest pain radiating to his arms which Dr. Lilli diagnosed as angina again. He was given various tests and continued on the same medications he had been taking.

Appellant was hospitalized again on January 25, 1970 and was found to have suffered a myocardial infarction (heart attack). During this hospitalization, in addition to appellant's continued medication for his coronary insufficiency, he was, for the first time, given a drug known as Coumadin, a blood-thinning drug. He continued taking this drug along with other medication prescribed for him until March 17, 1970 when he was admitted to the hospital complaining of severe chest pain and the loss of feeling and ...


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