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Brown v. Hahnemann Univ. Hosp.

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

May 21, 2014

AMOS BROWN, III, Plaintiff,
v.
HAHNEMANN UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL, Defendant

Page 539

AMOS BROWN, III, Plaintiff, Pro se, PHILADELPHIA, PA.

For HAHNEMANN UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL, Defendant: RUTH R. WESSEL, LEAD ATTORNEY, OBERMAYER, REBMANN, MAXWELL & HIPPEL, LLP, PHILADELPHIA, PA; TARA B. DICKERMAN, OBERMAYER REBMANN MAXWELL & HIPPEL LLP, PHILADELPHIA, PA.

Page 540

MEMORANDUM

EDUARDO C. ROBRENO, J.

Plaintiff Amos Brown, III, brings this pro se medical malpractice action against Defendant Hahnemann University Hospital (" Hahnemann" ), alleging that Hahnemann negligently inserted an intravenous catheter (" IV" ) in his arm, causing significant injuries. The parties have filed cross-motions for summary judgment, and, for the reasons that follow, the Court will deny Brown's motion and grant Hahnemann's motion.

I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Amos Brown is a state inmate currently being housed at the Liberty Management Services halfway house in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. On approximately July 23, 2012, Brown reported to Hahnemann's emergency room with complaints of chest pain. Brown alleges that, during his hospital admission, Hahnemann staff negligently inserted an IV into his arm. He says that the IV caused him pain and discomfort for several hours. Brown reported those symptoms to his nurses, but no changes were made. He was later transported to a lab to receive a CAT scan, at which point a hospital staff member used the IV to administer a contrast solution. Brown's pain immediately escalated, and the staff member examined the IV and discovered that it was inserted into Brown's arm tissue instead of his vein. Brown says that the improper insertion of the IV caused substantial pain, swelling, discoloration of his hand and fingers, and tingling sensations. He further alleges that the hospital staff made no effort to treat his complaints and did not administer any medication prior to his discharge from the hospital that same day. Brown's hospital discharge summary states that there was " no redness/swelling" at the IV site, but Brown asserts that statement is incorrect. See Pl. Mot. Summ. J., Ex. 4, Hahnemann Discharge Summary, ECF No. 33.

The day after his discharge from Hahnemann, Brown reported to Temple University Hospital (" Temple" ) with complaints of pain and swelling at the site of the IV. The doctor's note from that visit indicates that Brown's arm did not " look severely swollen or infected," but the treating physician prescribed Brown an antibiotic and pain medication. See Pl. Mot. Summ. J.,

Page 541

Ex. 1, Temple Univ. Hosp. Discharge Instructions, ECF No. 33. Brown asserts that, since that time, he has continued to experience swelling, pain, and discoloration in his arm and hand.

II. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Brown initiated this action on August 22, 2012, by filing a request to proceed in forma pauperis. ECF No. 1. That request was granted, and Brown subsequently filed his Complaint, bringing claims of inadequate medical care under the Eighth Amendment and medical malpractice under Pennsylvania state law. ECF No. 5. The Court dismissed Brown's Eighth Amendment claim with prejudice on January 18, 2013, but it allowed him to proceed on his medical malpractice claim by filing a Certificate of Merit in accordance with Rule 1042.3 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure. ECF No. 13. Rule 1042.3 requires a medical malpractice plaintiff to either provide an expert witness's statement explaining how the applicable standard of care was breached or certify that such expert testimony is unnecessary under the circumstances. Pa. R. Civ. P. 1042.3(a).

Brown subsequently filed a Certificate of Merit asserting that expert testimony from a medical professional was unnecessary in his case. ECF No. 14. In his Certificate, Brown also attempted to re-litigate the Eighth Amendment issue. Hahnemann responded to the Certificate, contending that the Court should reject it because the evidence in this case requires expert analysis. ECF No. 18. The Court denied Hahnemann's request, noting that it lacked the authority to reject a Certificate of Merit on that basis. Order, Mar. 28, 2013, ECF No. 20. Nonetheless, the Court rejected Brown's ...


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