Trial date nears in med-mal suit against Carthage medical center

Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau Sep. 6, 2007, 4:40am

East Texas Medical Center-Carthage

MARSHALL -- After a recent hearing in a medical malpractice suit, Magistrate Judge John Love denied a Motion to Continue Trial Date, stating he could not find sufficient justification.

The suit filed on Aug. 18, 2006, by plaintiff Jane Clements alleges that East Texas Medical Center in Carthage and emergency physician Dr. Bao Ngoc Tran were negligent in the medical treatment of her deceased husband, Charles Clements.

After a work-related accident, Charles Clements was taken to the Emergency Department of East Texas Medical Center-Carthage with a laceration to his leg. The injury was cleaned, treated with Neosporin, and closed with staples.

Less than a month later, Clements went back to the Medical Center for staple removal but showed signs of infection. About two months from the date of his original injury, Clements again sought treatment for his leg, this time for a rash and swelling. Diagnosed with cellulites, he was treated with antibiotics and released. Four days later, Charles Clements died.

On the day of his death, Clements went for treatment and reevaluation of his wounded leg at the Emergency room at the Carthage Medical Center. According to the plaintiff's court records, Clements had an anaphylactic reaction after receiving IV antibiotics.

Clements' wife alleges that Dr. Tran treated her husband too slowly and too conservatively. When Clements complained of difficulty breathing, he was taken off the IV antibiotic and given Benadryl and Solumedrol.

Although Dr. Tran ordered additional tests, resuscitation began seven minutes later. The complaint continues that Dr. Tran and nurses were negligent through the delayed delivery of epinephrine and improper ventilation.

In its amended answer of Nov. 2006, defendant East Texas Medical Center-Carthage acknowledges Clements' death and states the treatment listed by the plaintiff is incomplete.

In late January 2007, Great American Insurance Company filed an intervention. The document states the insurance company paid for Charles' medical care and Jane's indemnity benefits.

During a hearing on Aug. 31, Magistrate Judge Love denied Dr. Tran's motion for a continuance stating there was not sufficient justification. However, the discovery deadline was extended six weeks.

During the hearing, Dr. Tran stated he needed additional time to obtain Clements' medical and pharmacy records and depose two of his co-workers.

On behalf of herself and her adult daughter, plaintiff Jane Clements is seeking damages under the Wrongful Death Statute including loss of care, love, comfort, companionship, society, maintenance, support, services, advice, counsel, pecuniary losses, emotional pain, torment, suffering, funeral and burial expenses.

On behalf of Charles Clements, damages are sought for medical expenses, physical and emotional pain, torment, and suffering.

Representing the plaintiff is attorney Tom Needham from the law firm of Needham Johnson of Plano.

Pre-trial is set for Oct. 18 and jury trial set for Nov. 13 before Magistrate Judge Love in the Marshall Division of the Eastern District of Texas.

Case No.: 2:06cv00374

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