$5.3M award in medical suit sets Wyoming County record BY JOSH MROZINSKI STAFF WRITER 04/06/2007 TUNKHANNOCK — A jury has awarded $5.3 million to a borough woman for negligent medical care that led to her husband’s death. After three days of deliberation, the Wyoming County Court jury granted Angela Hillard $4.1 million for the wrongful death of her husband, Dennis, and $1.2 million for survivor action against nurse practitioner Maria Eastman and PhysicianCare. Lawrence Finney, of Philadelphia, who represented Mrs. Hillard, said an economist testified during the trial that Mr. Hillard’s loss of potential earning capacity was between $1.1 million and $3.1 million and loss of household services were estimated to be between $200,000 and $300,000. Mr. Hillard was an auto body painter when he died at age 31. Mr. Finney said $3.5 million was “representative of the loss of Mr. Hillard’s guidance and counsel” to his family. It is the largest monetary award ever in Wyoming County, according to county solicitor John Hovan. Mrs. Hillard filed suit in June 2003 and the case went to trial March 19. On March 27, the jury found that Ms. Eastman, with offices in Tunkhannock and in Laceyville, and PhysicianCare, with an office at 1 Kim Ave., were negligent. According to Mr. Finney, Ms. Eastman failed to recommend a statin treatment for Mr. Hillard’s elevated cholesterol, even though it was determined to be at 287 in July 2000. A statin is a medicine that lowers blood cholersterol. Although diet and exercise were recommended in August 2000, according to the complaint, medication wasn’t offered. Mr. Hillard died of a heart attack three months later. The complaint cites 51 examples of negligence and carelessness on the part of Ms. Eastman and the health care company, including failing to prescribe aspirin therapy or cholesterol-lowering medications and failing to order a stress test. Scranton lawyer John Aponick, who represented Ms. Eastman and the company, refused to comment.