Family of Taylor woman settles medical malpractice lawsuit for $7.25 million

Jun. 20—The parents of a Taylor woman who died after medical professionals failed to timely diagnose a serious heart condition reached a $7.25 million settlement of a lawsuit filed against Moses Taylor Hospital and several other defendants.

Mary and Joseph Mecca of Old Forge filed suit in 2021, alleging emergency room staff at Moses Taylor in Scranton ignored clear signs their daughter, Kerie Mecca, 32, was suffering from an aortic dissection — a condition in which the main artery that carries blood from the heart tears and splits apart.

According to the suit filed by Philadelphia attorney Matthew Casey:

Kerie Mecca, accompanied by her mother, went to the hospital around 12:30 p.m. on Dec. 1, 2020 complaining of sharp and burning chest and abdominal pain, a known symptom of an aortic dissection. Staff also knew Mecca had been diagnosed in 2017 with a heart valve abnormality that put her at risk for the condition.

Mecca repeatedly complained she was in excruciating pain. Mary Mecca, seeing her daughter's condition deteriorate, repeatedly expressed concerns that something was wrong, but the staff failed to timely order tests, leading to a five-hour delay in diagnosing the condition.

Mecca was transferred to Regional Hospital of Scranton at around 5:35 p.m., where she underwent emergency heart surgery. At around 6 a.m. on Dec. 2, 2020 she suffered cardiac arrest and died.

In addition to Moses Taylor, the suit named as defendants several medical professionals who treated Mecca in the emergency room: Dr. John Stanton, Hilary Holecz, a physician's assistant and Erin Strauss, a registered nurse.

It also named three physicians who treated Mecca in the years prior to her death, alleging they failed to order proper care to treat or monitor the heart valve abnormality.

The settlement with all defendants was reached just as the case was set to go to trial on June 12 before Lackawanna County Judge James Gibbons.

The agreement calls for Mary and Joseph Mecca to receive $4.15 million. Casey's law firm, Ross Feller Casey LLP, will receive $3.1 million in attorney's fees and litigation costs.

Annmarie Poslock, a spokeswoman for Commonwealth Health System, which owns Moses Taylor Hospital, declined to comment on the settlement.

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