Lawsuit against hospital dismissed

Posted Dec. 17, 2009, at 9:23 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 12:07 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — A lawsuit filed by Robert Olszewski, of Dover-Foxcroft, who claimed he was attacked in August 2007 by a physician assistant in Mayo Regional Hospital’s emergency room, has been dismissed by agreement of all the parties involved.

U.S. District Magistrate Judge Margaret Kravchuk had recommended earlier that because of Olszewski’s failure to obey court orders and his failure to prosecute his case, the lawsuit against Mayo Regional Hospital and others filed in federal court be dismissed.

The Dover-Foxcroft hospital, Hospital Administrative District 4, Chief Executive Officer Ralph Gabarro and physician assistant D. Scott Simpson were named in the lawsuit filed by Olszewski, who sought unspecified monetary damages. Simpson is no longer employed by the hospital.

“Mayo has been vindicated by this dismissal,” Tom Lizotte, Mayo Regional Hospital’s spokesman, said Thursday. “The hospital has always contended that this lawsuit was without merit.”

Olszewski claimed he went to the hospital’s emergency room twice within 17 hours on Aug. 6, 2007, for pain in his chest, headache and fever and was not given appropriate medical screening. He later went to a Bangor hospital, where he was admitted for a mild heart attack.

Before he left Mayo Regional Hospital, Olszewski criticized Simpson and the hospital for what he felt was inadequate and poor care. When he did so, according to the lawsuit, Simpson “rounded one of the counters, ran toward Olszewski and dove at his legs.”

Olszewski alleged that to defend himself, he grabbed Simpson around the waist and lifted him off the ground upside down. After being held by other hospital personnel, Olszewski set Simpson down so he would not fall on his head, according to the lawsuit.

The hospital denied the allegations in its response to the lawsuit.

A few months later, Olszewski was charged with assaulting Simpson. A grand jury rejected an indictment, leading Piscataquis County District Attorney R. Christopher Almy to drop the charge.

Olszewski’s lawsuit alleged violations of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act by the hospital and of federal, constitutional and statutory rights by the individuals and municipal entities. He also alleged common law assault perpetrated by Simpson.

The counts of professional negligence were dismissed by the court earlier, leaving the federal, statutory and constitutional claims for determination in federal court.

Lawyer Michael J. Waxman, who initially had represented Olszewski, withdrew from the case in August. After Waxman withdrew his representation, Olszewski did not respond to any of the court requests or the motions, according to Kravchuk.

“The court has heard nothing from Olszewski since August 24, 2009,” Kravchuk noted in her recommendation. “He has disregarded a court order, missed two filing deadlines and failed to appear for the pretrial conference.”

Olszewski said Thursday that maneuvering through the court system alone is not easy. “The whole legal system in my experience has not been easy for a layman to follow, and certain deadlines, procedures and stipulations are not easily understandable,” he said. “I would not suggest that anyone would take on a case like this on their own without some sort of legal expertise.”

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