Jury to get Teichman v. Evangelical, defense rests in civil trial

By Matt Farrand, Standard-Journal

LEWISBURG — The jury which heard the civil case brought by Dr. Fred
Teichman and Central Penn Women’s Health Inc. against Evangelical
Community Hospital was told Thursday they would get the case today.
Carol Steinour Young, representing the defendants, told Union County
Judge Michael H. Sholley shortly before noon that the defense had
rested. Co-defendants included Dr. Christopher Motto, retired Dr.
Lawrence Ginsberg, Dr. Maria Fullana-Jornet, Dr. Christopher Olson and
Michael O’Keefe, retired CEO.
Teichman, an obstetrician/gynecologist, filed his suit in 2014 and
sought $250,000 damages and reinstatement of practice privileges at
Evangelical. Teichman has claimed he was not informed of complaints
and actions which led to his suspension.
Dr. Todd Stefan was the final witness called by the defense.
Stefan was a member of an in-house Medical Executive Committee (MEC)
which suspended Teichman in 2012. The action followed a complaint of a
certified midwife nurse that Teichman had inappropriately patted her
breasts after a difficult birthing procedure.
The defense claimed there were other matters concerning Teichman’s
performance which led to the summary suspension. Among them were
actions taken when a patient suffered post-partum bleeding.
Evidence presented while Stefan was on the stand included a deposition
by Teichman via video. Teichman implied he would have suspended
another physician under the same circumstances.
On cross-examination, Stefan admitted the frequency and level of
urgency involved in some clinical decisions may delay immediate
investigation.
Defense claims that Teichman did not participate in clinical “time
outs” were also addressed on cross examination, with a notation that a
doctor in surgery may not have to verbally participate to be involved.
The term, as explained, was a pause before a procedure to check that
the staff is on the same page. Checklist items included making sure
the correct patient was before them and had been checked for
medications, allergies and other details which could lead to a poor
outcome.
A jury of eight women and four men was selected in July and began
hearing testimony Sept. 4 in Union County Court.
Sholley denied a defense motion to return a directed verdict, meaning
an instruction to the jury to make a specific decision when no
contrary decision could reasonably be made.
Steinour Young argued that the plaintiffs had not refuted matters
concerning giving adequate notice to Teichman and procedures of his
summary suspension.
Dennis Abramson, the attorney for Teichman, argued that there were
many things defendants did not address regarding the suspension.
However, Sholley prescribed immunity for Fullana-Jornet, noting the
difficulty of proving what a person knows or does not know at a
specific time. Fullana-Jornet was implicated for purportedly
encouraging the certified nurse midwife file a complaint.
Sholley indicated that the jury would be instructed to make their
decision based on whether the plaintiffs met standards stipulated in
the federal Health Care Quality Improvement Act of 1986 (HCQIA).

By Matt Farrand, Standard-Journal

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