8.6 million dollar judgment in favor of family of 60 year old woman affirmed by Superior Court.
On July 1, 2009, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania affirmed the judgment entered in the Common Pleas Court of Allegheny County in favor of Carol Hyrzcza, Executrix of the Estate of Margaret Mahunik, against defendants Yvette C. Ross Hebron, M.D. and ChoiceCare Physicians, P.C. The judgment was entered after a March 30, 2007, jury verdict in front of the Honorable Kim D. Eaton. According to trial counsel, John D. Perkosky, Esquire, the defendants now have 14 days to file for a reargument before the Superior Court or 30 days to file an appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
According to the published decision, Mrs. Mahunik had undergone successful hip surgery at Allegheny General Hospital on June 22, 2001, and had been admitted to the rehabilitation unit of Suburban General Hospital on June 27, 2001. Suburban had an agreement with ChoiceCare to provide medical care for patients admitted to its rehabilitation unit and ChoiceCare assigned one of their physicians, Dr. Hebron, as Mrs. Mahunik attending physician. Mrs. Mahunik showed signs of gastrointestinal bleeding which went unnoticed by Dr. Hebron, who was in the process of leaving her employment with ChoiceCare around July 4, 2001. ChoiceCare failed to assign another physician to care for Mrs. Mahunik. On July 8, 2001, Mrs. Mahunik suffered a cardiac arrest and died two days later from massive gastrointestinal bleeding.
Both defendants raised six issues on appeal before the Superior Court, including an argument that the verdict was excessive. All these arguments were denied by the Superior Court in a published opinion by Judge Christine Donohue. Hyrcza v. West Penn Allegheny Health System, 2009 WL 1877500 (Pa. Super.). Trial counsel were Attorney Perkosky and Attorney Philip A. Ignelzi from Ogg, Murphy & Perkosky. Attorney Michael A. Murphy assisted trial counsel on the appeal brief. Attorney Ignelzi argued the case before the Superior Court.