Trial begins for man doused with medical waste

David Yates Dec. 3, 2007, 9:57am

Blasted in the face with "spoiled and contaminated bodily fluids" while removing waste from Christus St. Elizabeth Hospital, George Glenn Eddings first sought medical attention and then quickly followed up with a civil suit.

Eddings will now have a chance to share his unpleasant experience with jurors. Jury selection began Monday, Dec. 3 in the George Eddings vs. Hospital Housekeeping Systems (HHS) trial in Judge Donald Floyd's 172nd District Court.

Three months after the Feb. 14, 2003, incident, Eddings filed suit against Christus St. Elizabeth and Hospital Housekeeping Systems, Inc. in the Jefferson County District Court, claiming the companies illegally disposed of hazardous waste.

Eddings and his lawyer, Adam Terrell, will spend the next week attempting to prove HHS committed several Texas Health and Safety Code violations.

A year before the start of the trial, Christus' attorneys requested a motion summary judgment. Floyd dismissed Christus as defendant.

In his order, signed Feb. 27, 2006, Floyd wrote, "It is ordered, adjudged and decreed that plaintiff, George Eddings take nothing against Christus Health Southeast Texas, and all claims filed against Christus…are dismissed with prejudice."

According to Eddings' petition, he was a Gulf Coast Waste Services employee working at Christus St. Elizabeth as a subcontractor.

"While going about plaintiff's assigned duties, plaintiff sustained…injuries to his face, eyes, head, neck, shoulder and body due to defendant's improper and illegal disposal of hazardous waste, including…infected, spoiled and contaminated fluids," the suit said.

Eddings made a claim and received workers' compensation and medical benefits after the injury.

In his suit, Eddings claims HHS was negligent for failing to supervise him, inspect the premises, warn him of the dangerous condition, provide him with a safe place to work and knowingly violating the Texas Health Code.

Eddings will ask jurors to award him punitive and exemplary damages, plus damages for past and future mental anguish, physical pain, lost earnings, medical expenses and impairment.

"Plaintiff would show that he sustained mental anguish of an almost incalculable nature," the suit said.

Terrell is an attorney for the Weller, Green, Toups & Terrell law firm.

Case No. E-170-031

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