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Massena man files medical malpractice lawsuit over father’s 2011 death

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CANTON— On July 30, 2011, 65-year-old Norfolk resident Richard G. Stark checked into Massena Memorial Hospital, seeking treatment for an arm injury.

Within two weeks, after what Mr. Stark’s family claims was a botched bone marrow biopsy, he died of an abdominal hemorrhage on Aug. 11, 2011.

Just over a year to the day since his father’s death, Massena resident Dustin J. Stark filed a medical malpractice lawsuit Tuesday in state Supreme Court against Massena Memorial Hospital, three of the hospital’s doctors and the town of Massena.

Mr. Stark, asserts the lawsuit filed by attorney Robert E. Lahm, Syracuse, “suffered hypovolemic shock, conscious pain and suffering, mental anguish, injury, shock to his system and his wrongful death.”

The three doctors named in the lawsuit are Priti Mandalaywala and Suhail S. Daye, both of Potsdam, and Halina Jandura-Cessna, of Utica.

Dustin Stark could not be reached for comment.

According to court documents, Mr. Stark was diagnosed with an enlarged spleen and thrombocythemia, a high number of blood platelets, by Dr. Mandalaywala while she treated his arm injury on July 30, 2011.

He reported back to the hospital on Aug. 11 for a follow-up appointment to rule out leukemia. The lawsuit alleges that Dr. Mandalaywala broke his right ilium, the largest and uppermost bone of the pelvis, and injured his iliac artery while attempting a bone marrow biopsy.

“Defendant Mandalaywala’s aspiration biopsy deviated from reasonable standards of medical care and (she) was not competent or qualified to perform the procedure,” the lawsuit states.

Allegedly, the artery damage was left undiagnosed and Mr. Stark was discharged. While in the hospital’s parking lot, however, he fainted and was readmitted to the emergency department at 12:32 p.m.

A CT scan revealed abdominal hemorrhaging, Dr. Daye was notified of the emergency at 1:20 p.m. and Dr. Jandura-Cessna examined Mr. Stark about 15 minutes later, according to court documents.

Mr. Stark received three blood transfusions between 2 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., was examined by Dr. Daye at 3:48 p.m., then fully coded and was resuscitated.

Mr. Stark was received at Fletcher-Allen Health Care in Burlington, Vt., shortly after 5 p.m., but lifesaving treatments were unsuccessful. He died at 9:20 that night.

The lawsuit seeks an amount of money to be determined by the court.

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