Jury selected to hear case against medical personnel

David Yates Apr. 30, 2007, 1:00pm

The alleged lack of action of several medical personnel has lead to a wrongful death trial that will begin May 1.

Jury selection began Monday in Judge Gary Sanderson's 60th District Court, Jefferson County.

The family of Richard Bernard Salter claim Dr. Marshall Packard, the Triangle Hospital Care Group and the Baptist Hospital of Southeast Texas (Memorial Hermann Baptist Orange Hospital) breached the ordinary standard of care by failing to adequately observe, assess, diagnose, treat and transport Salter.

According to the plaintiffs' seventh amended petition, Salter, 36, sought emergency medical treatment at the Orange Hospital on Feb. 1, 2003. He was diagnosed with dehydration and R/O sepsis and held for four hours before being transported to the telemetry unit, where he was attended to by Dr. Packard.

The suit says Salter went into respiratory distress and was in imminent danger of cardiopulmonary arrest; however, the doctor and nurses failed to call a "code or provide proper treatment."

Packard transferred Salter to the Intensive Care Unit. During the transport, he suffered cardiopulmonary arrest.

"Nurses did not offer CPR," the suit said. "Upon arrival at the ICU, the nursing staff called a code. Resuscitation measures were attempted but Richard Salter died."

The family alleges Packard was grossly negligent while caring for Salter, and that the hospital is liable to suit under the doctrine of respondeat superior.

Respondeat superior, Latin for "let the master answer," is a legal doctrine which states that an employer is responsible for employee actions.

"The breaches by defendant's nurses were willful and reckless and were the proximate cause of (Salter's) death," the suit said.

The family claims the Texas Wrongful Death Act entitles them to recover damages for pecuniary loss; termination of spouse/spouse, parent/child and child/parent relationship; and mental anguish.

Terrie, Richard, Mary and Richard Salter (Jr.) are represented by attorneys Steven Davis and James Bromberg of Davis & Davis, Attorneys at Law.

The defense is represented by Houston attorneys Griffin Vincent and Christine York.

Case No. B176-490

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