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Woman files wrongful-death suit against hospital

September 02, 1999|By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

A Sharpsburg woman has sued the Washington County Hospital Association and two of its doctors after her husband died in their care, according to documents filed in Washington County Circuit Court.

Andrea Millman, of 203 W. Chaplain St., filed the suit Tuesday against The Washington County Hospital Association, 251 E. Antietam St., Hagerstown, and doctors Francisco G. Japzon, 346 Mill St., and Johny P. Alencherry, 12821 Oak Hill Ave.

Millman is asking for "substantial damages" in the death of Chester John Millman Jr.,

As a result of her husband's death, "Andrea Millman has suffered pecuniary (financial) losses as well as mental anguish, emotional pain and suffering, loss of society, companionship, comfort, protection, marital care, love and attention," the suit said.

The suit said the physicians and hospital should be responsible for her spouse's medical bills, funeral and burial.

Monetary awards in wrongful death suits are determined by a jury, her attorney, Terrell N. Roberts, of Riverdale, Md., said.

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A spokeswoman for the hospital said it had no comment about the suit. The other defendants could not be reached. An answering service answered a call made to a phonebook listing under Japzon's name and said the physician retired this year.

In the complaint, Andrea Millman said her husband Chester Millman had been admitted to Washington County Hospital on May 6, 1997, at 8:20 a.m. for a colonoscopy to be performed by Japzon.

Chester Millman, then 42, had a history of diabetes, emphysema and scoliosis, "but he wasn't at death's door," said Roberts.

The complaint said that during the diagnostic procedure Chester Millman became unresponsive and went into respiratory arrest.

Japzon attempted to revive him and then called a "code" for other medical personnel to respond. Chester Millman regained a pulse and blood pressure after treatment but remained unresponsive, the suit said.

He was placed on a ventilator and transferred to the cardiac unit of the hospital, where he died the next day, according to Roberts and the suit.

The complaint alleges Japzon incorrectly administered preparatory drugs for the procedure and additional medicine to Millman, which resulted in sedating him too deeply and too quickly.

"Dr. Japzon failed to timely call a Code after the patient had the respiratory arrest and otherwise failed to properly resuscitate the patient," the suit alleges.

The suit also alleges that Japzon improperly monitored Millman once he was on the ventilator.

The suit said Alencherry assumed responsibility for Chester Millman's care while he was on the ventilator at the hospital.

The suit alleged he ordered the machine set at too high a level and as a result, Chester Millman developed a pattern of hypotension and other medical problems.

The plaintiff's complaint includes a certification by Johns Hopkins physician Peter J. Pronovost, which says the defendants "failed to comply with the standards of care and that such failure was the proximate cause of the injuries and death of Chester J. Millman Jr."

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