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2 doctors found negligent

Two Kenmore Mercy Hospital emergency room doctors were found liable Friday for $1.5 million that will be awarded to the widow of a Texas man who died nine years ago of a staph infection.

A State Supreme Court jury determined that Drs. William Dice and Mark Fennema were negligent in the care of the late Peter Pflanz, 47, an art teacher from Sugar Land, Texas, and father of two.

Though the jury also found Kenmore Mercy Hospital liable in the case, the hospital will not share in the payment of the jury award to Pflanz's widow, Sherryl, a Buffalo-area native who teaches school in Sugar Land.

Pflanz attorneys John M. Dempsey and Patrick J. Maloney said malpractice insurance carriers for Dice and Fennema and Great Lakes Emergency Physicians, the Michigan business that supplies emergency room physicians to Kenmore Mercy and other hospitals, will pay for the settlement.

Pflanz, visiting his wife's relatives in the Buffalo area, went to Kenmore Mercy July 31, 1998, for treatment of vomiting and a headache. However, he was misdiagnosed and prescribed medication for a jaw ailment -- not the staph infection that was causing his symptoms.

Pflanz returned to the hospital hours later on Aug. 1 because of adverse reactions to the medication, Dempsey and Maloney said.

Discharged again, Pflanz returned about 24 hours later, this time by ambulance and in a semiconscious state, the attorneys said.

He died in the hospital Aug. 6, 1998. An autopsy revealed the staph infection.

e-mail: mgryta@buffnews.com

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