Tyrone Hospital files court petition in medical negligence case

Tyrone Hospital filed a court petition on Monday in response to the more than $4 million verdict awarded to a 10-year-old boy for health problems stemming from his birth at Tyrone Hospital in 1995.
Dr. Roy Pazmino filed a similar petition on Friday.
The Blair County jury awarded $2.75 million for future medical expenses, and $600,000 was awarded for wages lost over the child’s lifetime. The jury also decided to award an additional $600,000 for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life and humiliation and embarrassment and $52,000 for disfigurement.
The civil trial covered eight court days and centered on the contention that a gynecologist, an anesthesiologist, Tyrone Hospital and its staff were negligent in the birth of Jacob Mayhue in December of 1995.
All the parties were found negligent, but the jury determined the actions of anesthesiologist Peter Matgouranis were not the cause of the boy’s medical problems.
It did decide that gynecologist, Dr. Roy Pazmino, and Tyrone Hospital were responsible. The jury divided that responsibility at 80 percent to Pazmino and 20 percent to the hospital’s obstetrical nursing staff. Pazmino did not work for the hospital when the boy was born.
The suit contended there was a delay in the ordering of the delivery of the baby by C-section after the boy’s heart stopped beating during an attempt at a regular delivery. The contention was that a lack of oxygen to the baby’s brain led to cerebral palsy.
The boy’s parents, Melvin and Trudy Mayhue, formerly of Altoona, now reside in North Carolina.
The petitions were filed by the hospital and Dr. Pazmino after the verdict was awarded.
The hospital insurance, Pennsylvania MCARE, will cover $1 million in expenses and will provide $1 million for Dr. Pazmino’s expenses, which adds up to $2 million. The hospital would then be responsible to pay the remaining $2 million.
Chief Executive Officer at Tyrone Hospital, Walter Van Dyke told The Daily Herald this morning that, “We’re not prepared to pay someone else’s expenses.”
Van Dyke said with the original verdict, the hospital was responsible for 20 percent of the $4 million verdict, or $800,000, and that Dr. Pazmino was responsible for 80 percent of it, or $3.6 million.
“We’re perfectly able to pay our portion, but if the doctor can’t pay his, we’ll have to pick up the $2.6 million.”
Van Dyke said that would “cause a financial hardship”, and the hospital would have to file Chapter 11 Bankruptcy to provide protection for the hospital to “hopefully regroup and hopefully recover”.
In the petition, the hospital is asking for one of two outcomes: a retrial where a limit would be set for no more than a $2 million verdict or a remitter to reduce the present settlement amount to $2 million that the hospital and Dr. Pazmino have together.
If Blair County Judge Hiram Carpenter doesn’t accept the petition, then the hospital will have to file for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, according to Van Dyke.
Van Dyke met with over 90 hospital employees yesterday to discuss the situation. He said he wanted to let employees know that the hospital is ready to assume its responsibility and that this case is not a mismanagement issue. He also told employees that the hospital is not closing anytime soon.