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Young doctor’s death prompts medical malpractice lawsuit

It is about a three-hour drive northeast of Covington to Plains Township, Pennsylvania. On the town's Facebook page today, there is mention of the opening back in 1981 of the NPW Medical Center. Today, the facility is called Geisinger Wyoming Valley and is "the largest healthcare facility in Northeastern Pennsylvania."

Why is that important? The facility is today at the center of a medical malpractice trial. The plaintiffs in the case allege that a failure in communication between doctors – coupled with human error – caused the death in 2013 of a young pediatrician.

There is a cruel twist of irony in the case: the 26-year-old was going to start her pediatrics residency with Geisinger Health System – the defendant company that owns the facility where she died.

An attorney for the plaintiffs told the jury that the young doctor "died of a blood clot that was permitted to go untreated," while an attorney for the defense countered that when the doctor showed up at the facility, she was already very ill. "There was nothing we could have done" to save her, he said.

Just three days before she died, the doctor's boyfriend took a photo of her that showed her sitting on a gurney with a big smile on her face. The image shows "a young, strong, vibrant woman," the plaintiffs' attorney said, "a woman who they’re going to tell you had no chance of surviving."

The blood in the woman's brain was backing up in an artery like water backs up behind a dam, the attorney said. When the blood vessel broke, the resultant brain injury was fatal.

The proceedings continue today.

We will update you in coming days about the outcome of the trial.

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