Warrior Run man’s family sues Geisinger Health System for fatal error

By Joe Dolinsky - jdolinsky@timesleader.com | May 17th, 2016 4:16 pm

By Joe Dolinsky


WILKES-BARRE — The daughter and widow of a 54-year-old man who died at a Geisinger hospital in 2014 have sued the health care system and a number of its doctors in what they allege was a fatal error in diagnosing an internal hernia.

Mark W. Davenport, of Warrior Run, was pronounced dead at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville July 12, 2014 after his condition declined over the course of several months due to an alleged improper diagnosis of his symptoms, according to a medical malpractice lawsuit filed Friday in Luzerne County Court.

“A proper assessment of these symptoms would have immediately yielded the correct diagnosis and led to the timely treatment of (Davenport’s) internal hernia before it resulted in his prolonged suffering and tragic death,” wrote attorneys Matthew A. Casey and Christopher M. Maloney, of Philadelphia law firm Ross Feller Casey.

Casey said Tuesday that Davenport “should be alive and well today,” and his death was “a textbook example of systemic failures in the healthcare delivery process.”

“He received very, very poor medical care,” Casey said.

According to the complaint, Davenport went to the emergency room at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Plains Township on Oct. 16, 2013 complaining of prolonged constipation and severe abdominal pain that extended into his back. No abnormalities were found following a CT scan and he was discharged the following day.

The complaint alleges the findings in the scan were suspicious and “any reasonably competent radiologist” should have recognized them.

Davenport, the complaint says, continued to be readmitted to Geisinger with abdominal pain and extreme weight loss throughout the remainder of 2013 and into 2014, but failed to receive “proper assessment, evaluation, management and treatment” of his symptoms — a “substantial factor” leading to his death.

The alleged missteps allowed Davenport’s condition to “progress undiagnosed and untreated to the point that his condition could not longer be salvaged,” the complaint says.

The 31-page lawsuit, initiated by Davenport’s widow, Gayle Davenport, and his daughter, Tami Cannell, of Exeter, seeks a jury trial and damages in excess of $50,000. It names as defendants Geisinger Health System and a number of its hospitals and clinics, as well as Family Practice Moosic and five individual doctors.

David Jolley, Geisinger Vice President of Public Affairs, said in a statement Tuesday Geisinger had not yet been served with the suit and was unable to review the allegations.

Reach Joe Dolinsky at 570-991-6110 or on Twitter @JoeDolinskyTL