Infected hand leads to med-mal suit

David Yates Jul. 11, 2007, 9:36am

Two years ago, a table saw tore through John Leatherwood's hand. He was rushed to Memorial Hermann Baptist Orange Hospital.

After he received treatment, Leatherwood visited a medical specialist in Houston, where he learned his hand had become "severely infected."

Surgeons eventually had to amputate Leatherwood's index finger.
Alleging his infection was "due to the negligence" of the Orange hospital staff, Leatherwood filed a medical-malpractice lawsuit against Baptist Orange and several of its nurses and doctors with the Jefferson County District Court on July 10.

According to the plaintiff's original petition, on July 11, 2005, Leatherwood "sustained a laceration to his left hand with a table saw." His injury was treated by the hospital's physicians and physicians.

The next day, July 12, 2005, "Leatherwood went to the Hand and Wrist Center of Houston and was examined and treated by Dr. Mark H. Henry, who discovered that (his) hand had become severely infected due to the negligent and grossly negligent acts�of the defendants, resulting in Leatherwood's severe and permanent injuries," the suit said.

In addition to the hospital, the suit names Doctors Asem Souman, Syed Zaheer and Fernando Levaro-Pano as defendants, along with nurses Johnson, William Smith and Donna Loomis.

The suit lists the following acts of alleged negligence:

- Failure to conduct proper medical testing and evaluation of Leatherwood and his injuries;

- Failure to properly diagnose Leatherwood's injuries upon presentment to the emergency room;

- Failure to administer the proper care to Leatherwood in a timely manner;

- Failure to properly clean and bandage Leatherwood's wounds;

- Failure to properly triage;

- Failure to provide appropriate discharge instructions;

- Failure to ensure that Mr. Leatherwood was timely examined and treated by a hand surgeon;

- And Failure to accurately assess, report, and document Leatherwood's left hand injuries.

"Defendants' conduct was a proximate and producing cause of plaintiff's injuries and damages, including but not limited to severe and life threatening infection and amputation of his left index finger," the suit said. "Plaintiff has suffered and will continue to suffer serious injuries and physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, physical impairment, physical disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of earning capacity, as well as reasonable and customary medical expenses for necessary medical treatment."

Leatherwood is demanding a trial by jury and is represented by attorney Thomas Kruppstadt of the Gauntt & Keuppstadt law firm.

Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th Judicial District, will preside over the case.

Case No. D179-633

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