February 6th, 2019 by Rieders Travis in Medical Malpractice

Shaheen v. The Williamsport Hospital, No. 18-0188 (C.P. Lycoming January 22, 2019) Linhardt, J.  This matter concerns Eli Shaheen’s (“Plaintiff”) suit against The Williamsport Hospital and UPMC Susquehanna (“Defendants”) on behalf of Val Cooper (“Ms. Cooper”) who allegedly died from third degree burns resulting from Ms. Cooper’s use of a cigarette lighter while connected to supplemental oxygen.1 Plaintiff claims that Defendants, and their agents, were negligent, careless and/or reckless for failing to appropriately supervise and attend to Ms. Cooper when they knew she was addicted to tobacco and suffering from dementia.

In the present case, the focus is on an inanimate object and its travels through the hospital. Allowing Plaintiff to broadly proclaim culpability of the entire hospital enters a plain beyond Sokolsky and its progeny. The Court will not entertain a fishing expedition. Plaintiff is required to amend his complaint to include general identifiers for those actors or agents Plaintiff believes are culpable.

The facts do not allege that consultations were necessary, that Ms. Cooper was improperly diagnosed, or that medical staff were improperly granted privileges. Therefore, Plaintiff is required to amend the Complaint to include factual support or remove those subparagraphs from Plaintiff’s Fourth Amended Complaint.

Plaintiff’s theory of the case presumes recklessness, the facts averred do not support a claim for punitive damages.



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