Lisa Zenzen Baker, 1961-2003


Monday, March 30, 2015

Case over

Update: Kidney damage claim settled

By David Baker
Posted March 29. 2015
225 words

A lawsuit in which a woman claims she suffered permanent damage to her kidneys has been settled a month before a scheduled trial.

The lawsuit, named physicians Axel Herrmannsdoerfer and Antonio Gregorian. According to the complaint, in April 2012, Susan J. Birch of Saratoga County went to an urgent care facility operated by Seton Health Systems in Clifton Park, where she was prescribed the antibiotic Zithromax by the defendant Herrmannsdoerfer.

Herrmannsdoerfer, the suit says, knew or should have known that Birch was allergic to the medication

The following day Birch called the facility and described her symptoms to the other defendant physician, Antonio Gregorian.  Gregorian then changed Birch’s prescription to Amoxicillin but allegedly did not advise Birch to go to the facility or any other emergency facility for an evaluation of her condition.

The lawsuit was filed in June 2013. An exclusive story about it was posted here on June 14, 2014. Like many lawsuits that begin with vigorous denials of liability, it ended last week with a settlement just before it would have gone to a jury. It was scheduled to go to trial in state Supreme Court in Rensselaer County on April 27.

Also named as defendants were Seton Health Systems Inc. and St. Peter’s Health Partners.

Birch was represented by the Albany law firm Powers & Santola. Representing the defendants were Thorn, Gershon, Tymann & Bonanni.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Double injury

Treatment following
 car crash leads to claim

By David Baker
Posted Feb 12, 2015
169 words

A woman who was treated at Samaritan Hospital in Troy, N.Y. after an automobile crash has filed a lawsuit against the hospital and an emergency room physician in which she claims she suffered serious injuries – including the amputation of “several digits” – as a result of the defendants’ malpractice.

Named in the suit, filed by Michelle Butler of Troy, are Alexander Grinshpun, M.D. and Samaritan Hospital. Grinshpun appears on Google search results as an employee of Emergency Medicine Physicians, which lists the same Troy address as the hospital.

According to the suit, Grinshpun was Butler’s treating physician following the car crash on July 26, 2013. As a result of the alleged malpractice, Butler “…was hospitalized, underwent surgery and amputation of several digits; suffered and still sufferers great physical and mental pain and anguish sustained severe injures; was obliged to and did expend large sums of money for medical aid and suffered lost wages.”

The suit was filed in October 2014 by the law firm Frost & Kavanaugh of Troy.

Permanent injuries alleged

 Hospital named in
 missed diagnosis claim

By David Baker
Posted Feb. 12, 2015
179 words

A woman who allegedly was permanently injured when a case of appendicitis was not immediately diagnosed at Samaritan Hospital in Troy N.Y. has filed a lawsuit against the hospital.

According to a brief notice, Nicole Matala, of Cambridge, Washington County  went to the emergency room at Samaritan on May 11, 2013. But the condition was not diagnosed until the next day.

“There was a failure to timely consider, diagnose and timely and appropriately treat and medically and surgically manage the plaintiff/patient’s condition,” the notice says. “As a result of the delays in consideration, diagnosis, treatment and management of the plaintiff/patient’s condition she suffered serious and permanent injuries and consequences, pain, suffering and damages.”

The suit was filed by Troy attorney E. Stewart Jones. As has been noted in pervious posts on the this blog, Jones has for several years filed lawsuits against medical providers with only a summons with notice rather than a more detailed complaint.

In addition to the hospital, the suit also names Northeast Health, Inc. and St. Peter’s Health Partners, Inc. No doctors or other staff are named as defendants.

Friday, February 06, 2015

Journalists in name only


Reporters appear to be unfazed
by management's lack of integrity

By David Baker
Posted Friday Feb. 6, 2015.
273 words

Brendan Lyons works for the Albany Times Union.  He evidently considers himself a journalist – his Twitter name includes the word ''writer" - but he seems untroubled by his employer’s total lack of journalist integrity.

As is documented on this blog, over the past 15 years the Times Union has routinely ignored dozens of lawsuits filed against the area’s hospitals – while running a continuous stream of advertising for them. 

And its not the paper doesn’t publish details of claims. It does.  Just today there is a story about a lawsuit alleging harassment.  It alleges an employee was subjected to a bizarre sexual hazing ritual.

It names the Capital Transportation Authority and others.  It was written by Lyons.

But there’s another lawsuit making its way through the courts that also alleges harassment.  In it, Patricia Cocozzo alleges numerous violations of New York’s Human Rights Law, including sexual harassment, age discrimination and disability discrimination. Cocozzo also complains of a hostile work environment, constructive dismissal, and retaliation for complaining about the alleged harassment. She claims a co-worker at Samaritan Hospital showed her a video of him having sex with another woman.

Sounds like a strong story, every bit as worthy of coverage in the Times Union as the one against the CDTA. 

But it has never been mentioned. A look at the name of the defendants explains why: They are Northeast Health, and its governing body,  St. Peter’s Health Partners – big TU advertisers and where the paper’s publisher has a seat on the board.

And it’s not that Lyons was unaware of the Cocozzo case; a copy of the complaint was emailed to him back in mid December. He never acknowledged it. Why would he? Like apparently all the reporters at the area’s papers, he evidently has no problem with a management that has totally abandoned its duty to inform the public, and is as every bit corrupt as the people it lectures to about ethics, accountability, honesty and trust.


Spot the difference

The TU story on the CDTA lawsuit is HERE

The exclusive story on this blog on the Cocozzo lawsuit is HERE


Thursday, January 08, 2015

An invitation

Facebook community page 

In the first seven days of this year, just over 5,000 visits have been logged on this blog.  Many of those hits have come via a community page on Facebook.

This is an invitation for you to log on to that page.

Once there, you can leave a comment, as many people have done on the story below about the newborn allegedly injured at the Burdett Care Center in Troy.  You can share post links on your own Facebook page - as 30 people did during the past week on the baby story.  And you can join the page, so that it appears on the left side of your own Facebook page when you are logged in.

Here's the page link:

Twitter: @answersforlisa

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Long labor leads to claim

Nurses, Burdett Care Center face
suit alleging injuries to newborn

Lawsuit alleges baby was "near death"
after mother was in labor for 17 hours 
By David Baker
Posted Thursday Jan. 1, 2015
413 words

The parents of a baby who allegedly received a permanent brain injury after four nurses allegedly failed to see that he was in distress during a long labor have filed a lawsuit against the nurses and the Burdett Care Center, a maternity facility located within Samaritan Hospital in Troy, N.Y.

According to legal papers, Lisette Maldonado of Troy went into labor on August 4, 2012 and was admitted to the care center at just after 4 a.m.

The suit says that the four nurses – Kathleen Breault, Amy Vincent, Jeanmarie Rodino and Kim-Lorraine Reed Bouchard – “…failed to address signs of fetal distress and permitted labor to continue, administered medications to induce labor and failed to seek medical assistance or take steps to have the baby delivered by cesarean section despite the need to do so.”

After Maldonado had been in labor for 17 hours, the baby was delivered by cesarean section. By then according to the complaint, he had received permanent injuries.

“The prolonged and extreme fetal distress suffered by the baby prior to the time of his birth placed him at risk of significant injury and harm, requiring that emergent steps be taken including delivery by cesarean section to alleviate,” the complaint says. “…[H]e was by then and there in extreme distress, had aspirated meconium, [the baby’s own accumulated waste], suffered respiratory failure, hypoxemia, was suffering acute excruciating mental and physical agony and pain and was near death.”

As a result, the suit says, the baby “…suffered trauma to his body systems, suffered mental and physical  pain suffered anguish anxiety and brain damage.”

The suit also names Capital Region Midwifery, by which Breault, a certified nurse midwife, was employed. Capital Region Midwifery was founded in 2012 with offices in Albany, Latham and Troy and has admitting privileges at the Burdett Care Center and at Ellis Healthcare in Schenectady, according to its web page. 

The suit seek an unspecified amount in damages for what it says will be the considerable resources needed to treat the child’s condition, and for his pain, as well as compensation for both parents’ anguish.

The suit was filed in October 2013  by the Albany law firm DeGraff, Foy & Kunz.

The defendants are represented by Carter, Conboy, Case, Blackmore Maloney & Laird; and O’Connor, O’Connor, Bresee & First. In early 2014 the defendant Kathleen Breault, an employee of Capital Region Midwifery, signed a consent to change attorneys from Carter, Conboy to Napierski, Vandenburgh, Napierski & O’Connor.

A search of the area’s newspaper archives produced no indication that details of the case have been published.

Burdett Care Center faces harassment suit.

Documents filed

Two lawsuits move along

By David Baker
Posted Thursday Jan 1, 2015
375 words

As a new year starts, here is an update on two lawsuits, details of which have previously been published on this blog.

Patricia Cocozzo vs. Northeast Health

Details of this case were published in an exclusive story here in June 2014. Patricia Cocozzo alleges that she was sexual harassed while working in the emergency department at Samaritan Hospital, and that she was ridiculed because of her hearing impairment. She also alleges retaliation for complaining about the harassment, which allegedly involved in part a male employee showing her a video of himself having sex with another woman.  The suit claims violations of several sections of New York’s Human Rights Law.

At the time the first story appeared here nothing had been filed by attorneys for the defendants. Since then, a law firm in White Plains, N.Y., Jackson Lewis, has filed a response. This document, known as an answer, contains little of substance; it merely routinely denies all the allegations and then lists a set of standard “affirmative defenses”; that the claim is barred by the statue of limitations (they all say that, even when it clearly isn’t); that Cocozzo “…failed to make diligent and good faith efforts to mitigate her damages”; and also a novel defense: that Cocozzo’s claim is barred by the state’s Workers’ Compensation Law; i.e., that any perceived harassment was a workplace accident, claims for which cannot be brought in civil courts.

The first story on Cocozzo's claim is HERE

Estate of Tara Palmer vs. James Slavin, M.D. and Samaritan Hospital

In this case, it is alleged that Tara Palmer was advised by the defendant James Slavin that it was safe to fly following an operation on an ankle. The next day Palmer collapsed and died in the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport en route to Boise, Idaho.  She was 31.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the estate by Palmer’s mother, Cheryl Maille, who lives in Boise. The date of the filing was November 2011 but there was no further activity in the public record until June 2014. In August, state Supreme Court Justice Patrick J. McGrath issued a scheduling order. A preliminary conference is set for March 2015.

The estate is represented by the Albany law  firm O’Connell & Aronowitz. Representing the defendants are Carter, Conboy, Case, Blackmore, Maloney & Laird, and Thorn, Gershon Tymann & Bonanni.

The first story on the Palmer lawsuit is HERE


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Bedsores lead to claims

Two new lawsuits allege
avoidable harm from ulcers

By David Baker
Posted Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014
234 words

Many of the lawsuits filed against hospitals and nursing homes allege that bedsores developed or were not treated properly while a person was in the facility.

Two of several such complaints filed this year name two area hospitals and a doctor as defendants.

According to a document in the first one, Peter J. Enzien suffered harm at Albany Medical Center Hospital “… when the said Peter John Enzien commenced medical treatment with the defendants at the medical facility in Albany, New York on or about January 8, 2012, the plaintiff was free of any sores or ulcers commonly known as bed sores,” the documents says. But “…while the plaintiff was a patient at the defendant’s facility, the plaintiff developed a substantial ulcer and bed sore.”

The claim was filed in May by attorney Robert Becher of Albany.

The second case names Ellis Hospital in Schenectady and a physician, Sanjiv Kayastha. It was brought by Cherylyn and Joseph McDowell, who live in Warren County.

According to the suit, during two separate admissions Cherylyn McDowell developed a sacral decubitus ulcer after hospital staff “ :…negligently breached the applicable standard of care by, among other things, failing to properly timely consistently and adequately turn and/or alter the position of Plaintiff, Cherylyn McDowell, as to avoid the development of pressure or decubitus sores.”

The compliant was filed in March by the Mills Law Firm of Clifton Park. N. Y.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Death of a salesman

Indications of fatal heart
attack allegedly missed

By David Baker
Posted Nov. Dec. 1, 2014
368 words

The widow of a man who had a heart attack and died in St. Mary’s Hospital in Troy, N.Y. has filed a lawsuit alleging that a failure to properly monitor his condition caused his death.

Pamela J. Higgins filed the claim in state Supreme Court, Rensselaer County on July 29 as administrator of the estate of Victor S. Higgins, Jr. of Troy.

Named as defendants are four physicians: Kathleen M. Crisafulli, Stephen J. Sokaris, Claudia L. Quinonez and Robert Boska; three medical organizations: Pegasus Emergency Medicine,  Troy N.Y., Pegasus Emergency Group, and Hospitalist Medicine Physicians of New York.  Also named are St. Mary’s Hospital, Seton Health Systems, Catholic Health East and St. Peter’s Health Partners.

According to legal papers, Higgins was seen in the hospital’s emergency room on July 30, 2012 complaining of shortness of breath, a swollen stomach and constipation.  He was admitted and placed in a bed on a regular ward, where, on August 7, he died.

The cause of death, according to the suit, was ‘…cardiopulmonary arrest, sepsis and anoxic encephalopathy.”

The suit alleges that the defendants “…failed to timely, accurately and property evaluate and diagnose the nature and extent of the decedent’s true condition and failed to timely and properly treat that condition and failed to provide proper and heightened monitoring and management.”

The claim was filed by attorney E. Stewart Jones of Troy.  As has been noted elsewhere on this page, Jones has for several years filed lawsuits with a summons with notice, which provide only a very brief description of the nature of the claim.

But the complaint in this case runs to 13 pages, although only two paragraphs – from which the quoted words above were taken – describe the events surrounding the alleged negligence.  The rest of it is text establishing the relationship between the various parties and the duty of care each owed the patient.

The complaint doesn’t give Higgins’ age, but an obituary notice says he was a 1977 graduate of Lansingburgh High School and for 30 years was an independent salesman for the Friehofer Baking company.  It lists as one of his  survivors his wife, Pamela Higgins.

Representing the defendants is the Albany law firm O’Connor, O’Connor, Bresee & First.