Family alleges hospital abused elderly veteran

David Yates Jul. 31, 2007, 11:24am

Promise Hospital

The family of a disabled veteran is suing a Nederland hospital, claiming the facility's care givers negligently ignored Gary Woodall, abused him and ultimately were the source of the elderly man's death.

Mary E. Woodall, and several other family members, filed a medical malpractice and wrongful death lawsuit against Promise Healthcare Inc. with the Jefferson County Court on July 30.

Promise Healthcare operates and owns the Promise Hospital of Southeast Texas, located at 2600 FM 365 in Nederland.
According to the plaintiffs' original petition, in March of 2002, Gary Woodall was admitted to the VA Hospital in Houston for a below-the-knee amputation. During the procedure, "the physicians and staff at the VA Hospital negligently paralyzed him from the waist down."

"Additionally Woodall's medical needs were not met and he was allowed to develop severe bedsores while at the VA," the suit said. "A claim is currently on file with the VA and is under investigation."

When Woodall's family realized what was happening to him, they transferred him to Promise, the suit said. "Unfortunately, Woodall did not fare much better at Promise. While at Promise, the nursing staff had a duty to care for his wounds and prevent further injury. They also had a duty to make sure that he was adequately hydrated, turned every two hours and adequately nourished."

The suit alleges the Promise care givers ignored Woodall and breached the "applicable" standard of care by failing to tend to him, "which caused Woodall's condition to worsen rather then improve."

"As a proximate result of Promise's negligence, Woodall suffered an injury and ultimately died," the suit said, adding that Woodall's family suspects he was abused during his time at the hospital.

The suit does not state how Woodall injured himself.

However, the suit does state was Promise was negligent for failing to properly monitor Woodall, feed and hydrate him and turn him every two hours.

The plaintiffs are suing for Woodall's alleged wrongful death, mental and physical pain, plus funereal expenses, loss of companionship, medical expenses and survival damages.

Woodall's family is demanding a trial by jury and is represented by attorney Daniel Packard of the Packard, Packard & Lapray law firm.

Promise Hospital of Southeast Texas is the area's newest free-standing Long-Term Acute Care Hospital in Texas, the company's Web site said. "At Promise Hospital we use an interdisciplinary, team approach to treatment specifically designed for patients who need a longer acute care recovery period. We specialize in the medical management of patients with complex, unresolved, acute, chronic, or catastrophic illnesses, as well as multi-system disease processes."

Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd Judicial District, will preside over the case.

Case No. E179-728

More News