The widow of E. Steven Collins, the late Philadelphia radio icon and civic activist, has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit claiming that Chestnut Hill Hospital’s “negligence” and “carelessness” directly contributed to her husband’s death from a heart attack last fall.
The 56-page complaint (PDF), filed Monday by Lisa Duhart-Collins in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court, alleges that the hospital failed to give Collins “prompt, effective and appropriate medical treatment” after the 58-year-old arrived with his family suffering from chest pains and shortness of breath on Sept. 8, 2013.
Collins arrived at the hospital’s emergency department just after 9 p.m.
Shortly afterwards, Dr. James Miranda, the attending physician, ordered an echocardiogram, according to the complaint. The results were “abnormal” and “life threatening.”
Given his condition, the suit claims that Collins should have immediately received blood-thinning and artery-opening medications typically given to patients suffering from a heart attack, including aspirin, Nitroglycerin, Lasix and Heparin.
Miranda failed to order this “standard medical therapy,” a decision that allegedly put Collins in grave danger and was a “substantial factor” in his death, according to the suit.
Miranda instead gave Collins a medication that “should have been avoided” given his patient’s condition, according to the complaint.
The suit further alleges that Miranda should have ordered a second EKG after Collins was sedated and intubated to provide “clarification” about his patient’s condition.
That didn’t happen until more than an hour after Collins’ arrival. By then, Collins’ condition had “significantly progressed and worsened.”
It also claims that Miranda failed to “continue necessary medications,” “discontinue unnecessary medications,” and “promptly order medications in appropriate doses.”
All of it, according to the suit, caused Collins’ condition to deteriorate and ultimately led to his death at 12:09 a.m. on Sept. 9, 2013.
Thomas Kline, an attorney representing Collins’ widow, spoke with NewsWorks about the suit on Friday.
“They did not give him medication to thin his blood and keep his blood flow going. They lowered his blood pressure, but to a level that was incompatible with life,” Kline said. “The death of E. Collins was avoidable had he had standard medical care in the emergency room.
“The family feels first and foremost that it’s important that E.’s story be told so that members of the community and healthcare providers can understand what happened here so it doesn’t happen again.”
The amount of damages being sought has not yet been specified.
The suit names seven defendants, including the hospital, Miranda, Chestnut Hill Health and Community Health Systems, Inc., the Tennessee-based company that owns the hospital.
Community Health Systems referred all questions to the hospital.
On behalf of Chestnut Hill Hospital, marketing director Cathy Brzozowski said, “We have not yet been served with this suit.”
Who he was
Before his death, Collins was an executive with Radio One, Inc., based just outside of the city in Bala Cynwood.
Collins, dubbed “the unofficial mayor of Philadelphia,” also spent time in TV, including a stint as an analyst on MSNBC’s “Hardball” with Philadelphia-native Chris Matthews and sat on Mayor Nutter’s Commission on Literacy.
He is survived by Duhart-Collins and his two sons, Rashid and Langston Collins.