A Luzerne County jury on Tuesday delivered a roughly $1 million verdict against Lehigh Valley Hospital – Hazleton and its clinicians for failing to recognize a deadly stroke in progress.
John J. Kostanesky, 41, of Beaver Meadows, died on May 1, 2016, after doctors and nurses at the hospital failed to diagnose and treat the stroke in a timely basis, according to the lawsuit filed by Philadelphia law firm Ross Feller Casey.
Attorney Joshua Van Naarden said Kostanesky went to the hospital to be treated for pancreatitis and then had a stroke in what is billed as a primary stroke center.
“He totally strokes out while he is in the hospital and these clinicians were watching,” Van Naarden said. “The verdict is significant in the sense that they returned a verdict against the hospital itself — the institution — for having outdated policies.”
As a result of the stroke, Kostanesky suffered brain damage and developed locked-in syndrome, a rare neurological disorder in which there is complete paralysis of all voluntary muscles except for the ones that control the movements of the eyes.
Kostanesky died nine days later, leaving behind a wife and two young children.
Van Naarden said the jury found the hospital 90% responsible in its verdict. Dr. Philip J. Benyo and his son, Physician Assistant Philip P. Benyo, were deemed 10% responsible, he said.
Van Naarden, who tried the case along with attorney Daniel Rovner, said the verdict validated the plaintiff’s case that the hospital was negligent in Kostanesky’s care.
“This health system chose to defend this case on every aspect of the case,” Van Naarden said. “For this jury to come back with this verdict, it means they rejected each and every one of those arguments, and that speaks volumes to the family.”
Thanks to James Halpin and The Citizens Voice.
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