Defense rests case in Wayne HealthCare lawsuit


GREENVILLE — The defense rested its case in a medical malpractice trial against Wayne HealthCare in Darke County Common Pleas Court on Monday. Judge Jonathan P. Hein presided.

Kyle Dillman, son of late New Weston resident Tisha K. Gibson, filed suits against Wayne HealthCare Physician’s Assistant James Zimmerman and Wayne HealthCare on count one of wrongful death and count two of personal injury in May 2019.

The charges followed Gibson’s day-long stint in the Wayne HealthCare Emergency Department (ED) on May 30, 2018, in which her chief complaints were allegedly “dizziness,” “palpitations,” a “headache” and “shortness of breath.” Gibson was treated by Zimmerman during her stay in the ED, and after he looked after her, and she was given fluids, Zimmerman discharged Gibson home with a diagnosis of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo and some prescriptions for nausea and dizziness at approximately 6 p.m. According to her witness testimony on Tuesday, Gibson’s daughter Megan Goewert went to her mother’s the next day at approximately 1 p.m. to check on her and found her deceased.

Gibson’s estate is alleging that Zimmerman did not clear her for all potential life-threatening problems prior to her discharge, such as a pulmonary embolism, from which her estate claims she died.

A pulmonary embolism occurs when a blood clot gets lodged in an artery in the lung, blocking blood flow to part of the lung. Common symptoms of pulmonary embolism are fast heart rate, shortness of breath, palpitations, chest pain and low oxygen levels.

Dr. Jane Turner, Forensic Pathologist, and James Zimmerman, Physician’s Assistant at Wayne HealthCare, testified for the defense, and Dr. Kent Harshbarger, Montgomery County Coroner, testified for the plaintiff on Monday.

In her testimony, Dr. Turner analysed the autopsy performed by Dr. Harshbarger. Dr. Harshbarger determined in the autopsy that Gibson’s cause of death was bilateral pulmonary thromboembolism. Dr. Turner told the jury she disagreed with this opinion.

“No, the microscopic slides and the few blood clots that are there have features of perimortem blood clots, so blood clots that formed in the process of her dying,” she said. “She was already dying when these were formed. She was dying from something else, that something else, and that something else is the enlarged heart. The cardiomegaly from hypertensive heart disease.”

Later on, Dr. Harshbarger defended his opinion on Gibson’s cause of death, and told the jury he had no question she died of bilateral pulmonary thromboembolism.

“There’s no doubt to me,” he said. “I’ve never called something, and changed my mind on a thromboembolism,” Dr. Harshbarger said.

Court will reconvene on Tuesday at 9 a.m.

By Abigail Miller

Reach Abigail at [email protected]

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