Lawsuit over botched pregnancy diagnosis at Lackawanna County Prison can proceed, judge rules

May 28—A woman who alleges she nearly died after the Lackawanna County Prison medical staff failed to timely react to a pregnancy complication can proceed with a federal lawsuit against the prison's former medical provider, a judge ruled.

Jacquelyn Parker filed suit in 2020, alleging Correctional Care Inc. staff ignored clear signs she was suffering from an ectopic pregnancy — a life-threatening condition in which a fertilized egg implants itself in a woman's fallopian tube instead of her uterus.

The suit, filed by Wilkes-Barre attorney Barry Dyller, alleged Parker repeatedly complained of bleeding and pain shortly after she was jailed on June 14, 2018. She was seen once about a week later and prescribed pain medication. Medical staff ignored her request to be seen again until July 19, 2018.

Parker was transferred to an area hospital the next day, where an ultrasound revealed the ectopic pregnancy caused her fallopian tube to rupture. She underwent emergency surgery to remove her fallopian tube and an ovary.

Correctional Care was the prison's medical provider from 2004 until December 2020, when the county awarded the contract to Wellpath of Tennessee. The suit names as defendants Correctional Care, its owner, Dr. Edward Zaloga, and one of his employees, Anthony Iannuzzi, a certified nurse practitioner. The county and prison are not named as defendants.

Attorneys for Zaloga filed a motion to dismiss the suit, arguing in part Parker failed to show the medical staff breached the standard of care or that they acted with "deliberate indifference" in treating her — necessary elements to proceed with the lawsuit.

U.S. District Judge Malachy Mannion recently denied the motion, noting Parker presented testimony of a medical expert who said that "even a third-year medical student" would have realized Parker should have immediately been evaluated for an ectopic pregnancy.

Mannion scheduled a pretrial conference for June 21. The case is scheduled to go to trial on Aug. 7.

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