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Positano v. Pennsylvania Cardiothoracic Surgery, Inc.

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

December 2, 2014

ONOFRIO POSITANO, Plaintiff,
v.
PENNSYLVANIA CARDIOTHORACIC SURGERY, INC., et al., Defendants

MEMORANDUM

SYLVIA H. RAMBO, District Judge.

Plaintiff Onofrio Positano, a state inmate currently incarcerated at the State Correctional Facility at Mahanoy ("SCI-Mahanoy") in Frackville, Pennsylvania, initiated this action with a complaint filed in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on May 31, 2013, followed by an amended complaint on February 27, 2014. ( See Doc. 63.) The matter was transferred to this court on June 7, 2013. ( See Doc. 5.) Named as Defendants are the Wilkes-Barre General Hospital ("WBGH"), the Pennsylvania Cardiothoracic Surgery, Inc. ("PCS"), and Michael D. Harostock, M.D. In the amended complaint, Plaintiff claims that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs in connection with bypass heart surgery performed at WBGH on June 2, 2011. He also asserts state law claims of negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Presently before the court are two motions to dismiss, the first filed by WBGH (Doc. 67), the second by PCS and Dr. Harostock (Doc. 69). For the reasons set forth below, both motions to dismiss will be granted.

I. Background

A. Facts

Plaintiff makes the following allegations in his amended complaint. On June 2, 2011, Dr. Harostock performed a quadruple coronary bypass on Plaintiff at WBGH. (Doc. 63 ¶ 9.) On approximately October 5, 2011, Plaintiff began to experience extreme chest pain. ( Id . ¶ 10.) Upon inspection of his chest, Plaintiff noted "several bones and wires protruding from the area of the surgical incision." ( Id .) He also could hear and feel "what he believed to be bones or cartilage snapping" when he bent over to cough or sneeze. ( Id .)

After making these observations, Plaintiff submitted a sick call request to see Dr. Lisick, SCI-Mahanoy's medical director, who subsequently examined him. ( Id . ¶¶ 11, 12.) Dr. Lisick noted Plaintiff's protruding bones and observed that his sternum had reset overlapped and offsided. ( Id . ¶ 12.) He also stated to Plaintiff, "I have never seen anything like this after surgery." ( Id .) Finally, Dr. Lisick told Plaintiff that he would submit a consultation request for an examination by Dr. Harostock. ( Id .)

Three to four months later, Plaintiff was examined by Dr. Harostock. ( Id . ¶ 13.) Dr. Harostock noted the protruding bones and wires, but opined that it was Plaintiff's lack of body density that caused their appearance. ( Id .) He asked to see Plaintiff again in six months but to notify him if the pain worsened beforehand. ( Id .)

Plaintiff's pain continued on an "almost daily basis." ( Id . ¶ 14.) "Months later" Plaintiff was examined again by Dr. Harostock and a CT scan was ordered. ( Id . ¶ 15.) After Dr. Harostock reviewed the results of the CT scan, he informed Plaintiff that a second surgery was necessary. ( Id . ¶ 16.)

Sixteen months after the first surgery, Plaintiff had a second chest surgery. ( Id . ¶ 16.) Plaintiff avers that, during this surgery, the wires were removed, his sternum was reset, and the protruding bones were cut off and sharp edges ground down. ( Id . ¶ 17.) Since that surgery, Plaintiff still has the chest pain and hears snapping of bones and cartilage. ( Id . ¶ 18.) Plaintiff avers that a recent examination has shown the probability that he will have to undergo another surgical procedure. ( Id .)

B. Procedural History

Plaintiff originally filed the instant complaint in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. ( See Doc. 1, 3.) The case was transferred to this court on June 7, 2013. (Doc. 5.) On July 29, 2013, the court directed service of the complaint on the Defendants named therein. (Doc. 9.)

On August 23, 2013, Defendant WBGH filed a motion to dismiss. (Doc. 16.) A supporting brief followed on August 28, 2013. (Doc. 20.) On October 11, 2013, Defendants PCS and Dr. Harostock filed a motion to dismiss and brief in support. (Docs. 35 &36.) Rather than file a brief in opposition, Plaintiff filed a motion for leave to file an amended complaint. (Doc. 48.) By order dated February 28, 2014, the motion to amend the complaint was granted and Plaintiff's amended complaint was accepted for filing. (Doc. 64.) Further, the court deemed moot the motions to dismiss. ( Id .)

On March 28, 2014, Defendant WBGH filed a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction and for summary judgment. (Doc. 67.) On that same day, Defendants PCS and Dr. Harostock filed a motion to dismiss. (Doc. 69.) After responsive ...


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