Med-mal trail against Christus begins in Jefferson County

David Yates Sep. 4, 2007, 8:00am

Nick Nichols

Jury selection for the medical malpractice trial of Irene Salas et al vs. Christus Health Southeast Texas et al began Monday, Sept. 4, in Judge Donald Floyd's 172nd Judicial District.

Irene Salas claims her husband Aurilano Salas died of a preventable heart attack while in the care of Christus Hospital St. Mary in Port Arthur back in August 2001.

According to the plaintiffs' original petition, on Aug. 6, 2001, Aurilano Salas was in Port Arthur driving a dump truck, helping his son Rudy at a work site when he began to experience weakness, nausea, vomiting and pain radiating from his jaw to his left arm and through his back, the suit said. He has transported to St. Mary Hospital and attended to by defendants Dr. Peterson, Dr. Ghyath Samman and nurse Maryann Guilloy.

In the lawsuit, filed with the Jefferson County District Court on Aug. 29, 2003, Christus physicians diagnosed Salas with a respiratory infection and prescribed Tylenol. Eight hours later, Salas died of a heart attack.

The Salas family asserts they warned hospital staff that Aurilano Salas suffered from a heart condition and was taking Plavix, but attending physicians failed to heed their admonitions.

"Despite being informed by Rudy Salas that his father had a heart condition�, blocked arteries and of the name of his father's cardiologist in Lubbock, Dr. Michael Peterson diagnosed Aurilano with a respiratory infection," the suit said. "Aurilano suffered a heart attack and died, approximately eight hours after arriving at Christus St. Mary."

The plaintiffs fault the defendants with negligence and gross negligence, and allege that if Christus' medical staff had provided Aurilano with an ordinary standard of care, he would still be alive today.

The plaintiffs are suing for medical expenses, funeral expenses, pain and suffering, loss of companionship and exemplary damages.

They are represented by the Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels & Friend law firm.

Case No. E170-948

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