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Lawsuit against Latrobe Area Hospital is dismissed

| Saturday, May 12, 2012, 5:13 p.m.

A $90 million malpractice lawsuit filed by a New Alexandria woman against Latrobe Area Hospital and the manufacturer of a recalled medical instrument has been dropped.

Through an attorney, Anne M. Stanley, of 150 Cardinal Drive, directed the Westmoreland County Prothonotary's Office to dismiss the case.

Stanley filed the medical malpractice suit in Westmoreland County Common Pleas Court in December against the hospital; Olympus America Inc., of Melville, N.Y.; and her physician, Dr. Atul Bhatnagar, of Latrobe.

Stanley alleged that an Olympus-manufactured bronchoscope was used by the hospital and Bhatnagar twice during exams to diagnose a mass in one of her lungs.

Five months after the second exam, Olympus recalled the bronchoscope. According to the lawsuit, the instruments were recalled because a loose valve "allowed bacteria (pseudomonas) to form in a pocket where the bacteria could not be reached by the sterilization equipment."

Pseudomonas bacteria can cause pneumonia and may be life-threatening to patients already suffering from a critical illness.

The lawsuit alleged Stanley suffered "unnecessary pain and fear of not knowing whether (Stanley) was infected with the pseudomonas bacteria."

Stanley's attorney, Sotirios B. Yanakakis, of Washington, D.C., could not be reached for comment.

Attorneys for the hospital and Bhatnagar also could not be reached.

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