A wrongful death lawsuit filed last year by a Norton widow accusing Summa Health and its emergency medicine physician group of negligent care has been settled.
In her lawsuit, Julie Bradshaw alleged that the death of her 58-year-old husband, Robert, from a stroke in 2017 was caused, in part, by negligent care and “deviations from acceptable industry standards” after Summa abruptly switched ER physicians and lost its emergency medicine residency training program.
Representatives for both sides had little to say officially about the settlement.
Julie Bradshaw's attorney, Megan Frantz Oldham said: “All I can say is that the case was settled against some of the defendants.”
Summa spokesman Mike Bernstein said: “I can confirm that we have resolved the lawsuit and our thoughts remain with the family and loved ones.”
Marty Richmond, a spokesman for U.S. Acute Care Solutions (USACS), the Canton-based physician group that staffs Summa's ERs, confirmed the case was settled and declined to comment further.
Summit County Common Pleas Court documents filed in March and April show dismissal of various parties in the case by the plaintiffs. Some of the parties were dismissed with prejudice and others without prejudice, with the latter meaning a case could be brought by the plaintiff again.
In the suit, Bradshaw claimed her husband wasn't seen by an attending physician for about 20 hours after he arrived in the Summa Barberton Hospital emergency department for vertigo.
The physicians then failed to treat him for a stroke despite test results confirming he was experiencing the life-threatening condition, Bradshaw alleged in the suit.
The suit named 23 defendants, including Akron-based Summa, USACS, several physicians and other health care providers.
The lawsuit cited the loss of Summa's emergency medicine residency training program, including violations cited from the national accrediting body, as a factor in Bradshaw's death.
In February 2017, the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education revoked the program after determining there were delays in obtaining specialized care for patients with possible strokes, first-year residents and rotating residents were seeing patients without supervision and patients were being sent home without been seen or examined by an attending physician.
Summa saw an abrupt changeover of the longtime emergency medicine physician group on New Year's Day 2017 after failed negotiations. The switch resulted in upheaval at Summa, including the resignation of the former CEO after hundreds of doctors voted no confidence in his leadership.
The hospital system’s application to restart the emergency residency program was denied in September. Summa officials have said they are working on another application, with the goal of having emergency department residents again by July 2020.
Beacon Journal consumer columnist and medical reporter Betty Lin-Fisher can be reached at 330-996-3724 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her @blinfisherABJ on Twitter or www.facebook.com/BettyLinFisherABJ and see all her stories at www.ohio.com/topics/linfisher.