By Joe Messa
Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Jacqueline F. Allen issued an order in favor of a motion filed by attorneys at Messa & Associates for sanctions against defense counsel Nancy Raynor “for violation of ethical rules, improper conduct, and obstruction of justice.” The plaintiff’s motion was filed after Raynor contacted an expert witness’ employer via letter in response to an expert report she issued regarding a case in which she was retained.
The case was filed against Roxborough Memorial Hospital alleging that one of its doctors, Dr. Jeffrey Geller, failed to obtain diagnostic testing results that could have lead to the timely diagnosis of lung cancer in Rosalind Wilson. Ms. Wilson ultimately died as a result of lung cancer. The plaintiffs retained Dr. Stefanie Porges, an emergency room physician at University of Pennsylvania Hospital, as an expert in the case. According to her expert opinion, Dr. Geller should have followed up to obtain tests results and advising the patient of them since he ordered the test.
On May 3, 2007, 68-year-old Wilson arrived at Roxborough Hospital’s emergency department complaining of chest pains, shortness of breath, a headache, and various other symptoms. Dr. Geller ordered a chest X-ray; however, he failed to read the results and relayed them to the patient. The results of the chest X-ray, if read, would have indicated to Dr. Geller that further testing was necessary. Unfortunately, Wilson did not receive the additional testing and was not diagnosed with widely metastatic Stage IV, non-small cell lung cancer with neurological symptoms from multiple brain metastases until 19 months later in January 2009. She died on July 21, 2009.
Raynor represented Dr. Geller and Roxborough Emergency Physician Associates in the case. In her letter to Dr. Porges’ employer, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, she wrote, “Dr. Porges has clearly overlooked the well-established concept of hand-off to an accepting inpatient team and I thought you might want to know that, if this is her position and plaintiff’s attorneys become aware of it, it could expose the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania to significant liability.”
Messa & Associates argued in their motion requesting sanctions that Raynor attempted to interfere with Dr. Porges’ testimony as a witness by pressuring her not to testify and threatening her reputation as an expert physician. According to the complaint filed by Messa & Associates, the letter was “outrageous” and exceeded “the bounds of both attorney ethics and common decency.” Judge Allen agreed and upon consideration of the motion, she ordered Raynor to refrain from contacting the plaintiff’s experts or their employers. She also found that Raynor’s conduct was sanctionable and issued an order disqualifying Raynor from representing further the defendants in the case.
The Philadelphia medical malpractice attorneys at Messa & Associates are experienced at handling medical malpractice cases resulting from medical errors. Our extremely skilled team of medical malpractice attorneys and medical experts is dedicated to ensuring you receive proper compensation for your personal injuries. If you or a loved one has suffered personal injuries as a result of a medical error, failure to timely diagnose or failure to treat a condition or any other type of negligent care received by a medical provider, contact the medical malpractice attorneys of Messa & Associates for a free consultation. Call toll free at 1-877-MessaLaw, or submit a free online inquiry.
Joseph L. Messa, Jr. is the founding partner of Messa & Associates, P.C. He is an AV-rated attorney (highest rating available), listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers. Read More