Brownsville woman files lawsuit because legs partially amputated
By Liz Zemba
Published: Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2009,
A Fayette County woman who underwent partial amputations because she sat with her legs folded under her for as long as 12 hours while passed out drunk claims a doctor overlooked an acute medical condition because she was intoxicated.
Shanna Hiles, 20, of 101 Water St., Brownsville, filed a medical malpractice lawsuit Tuesday in Fayette County against Uniontown Hospital, Fayette Regional Health System and an emergency room physician, Dr. Mark L. Fennema.
According to the lawsuit filed by Pittsburgh attorney Monte J. Rabner, Hiles "consumed an excess of alcohol" while celebrating her 20th birthday at a neighbor's house May 23.
Hiles lost consciousness while "seated on the floor with her legs tucked under her," according to the lawsuit. She remained in that position for up to 12 hours before a relative discovered her the following day.
Disoriented and complaining of pain in her lower legs, Hiles was taken by ambulance to Uniontown Hospital's emergency room, arriving at 2:30 p.m.
Rabner alleges although Hiles had signs of a reversible condition known as "acute compartment syndrome," Fennema waited nearly six hours before arranging her transfer to UPMC Presbyterian in Pittsburgh.
The 8:15 p.m. transfer began by ambulance, but a medical helicopter was dispatched while Hiles was enroute because of her "deteriorating health," according to the lawsuit.
Within approximately two hours of her arrival at UPMC, Hiles was diagnosed with acute compartment syndrome and had bilateral knee amputations. Compartment syndrome occurs when blood flow is impaired, damaging nerves and muscle, according to the lawsuit. It is reversible through surgery, if diagnosed in time.
The lawsuit alleges Fennema "discounted" indicators of acute compartment syndrome because Hiles was intoxicated. According to the lawsuit, Hiles was diagnosed with acute alcohol toxicity upon her arrival at Uniontown Hospital.
The hospital is named in the lawsuit for alleged failure to properly supervise Hiles' treatment. Fayette Regional Health Care System is the hospital's parent corporation.
Fennema could not be reached for comment yesterday at the hospital. Karen Dei Cas, hospital spokeswoman, declined to comment.
Hiles is seeking an unspecified amount in damages.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- ‘Ninja’ sentenced to psych hospital
- Man sent to prison for role in beer party fight
- To 1940s teenagers in Connellsville, World War II was a constant companion
- Connellsville library to host Job/Career Club
- South Connellsville Borough to hold ‘Christmas Celebration’
- $500 reward offered for Nicholson assailant
- WCVI building in Connellsville awaits buyer for possible renovations
- Downtown Connellsville had it all in the 1940s and 1950s
- Dunbar Borough Council keeps taxes at 1.665 mills
- Dawson keeps taxes same for 2014
- 3 Connellsville area veterans share stories from World War II