Woman says doc ignored symptoms, girl born premature

David Yates Jan. 7, 2008, 9:24am

Shelly Andrues claims her daughter was born almost 11 weeks early because her OB/GYN ignored signs of high blood pressure.

Shelly and her husband Paul Andrues have filed a medical-malpractice lawsuit individually and on behalf of their daughter against Dr. Coffy Pieternelle and Southeast Texas OB/GYN Associates in the Jefferson County District Court on Jan. 3.

According to the plaintiffs' petition, during her pregnancy, Andrues received medical care from Dr. Pieternelle, who began seeing her on Sept. 8, 2005. During the months of December and January, Shelly's blood pressure began to steadily increase.

"By January 30, 2006, her blood pressure was noted in her chart to be as high as 166/116, and although Mrs. Andrues was concerned about her blood pressure, Dr. Pieternelle dismissed her concerns, telling her that 'you'll be fine,' and then he left town on a two-week trip," the suit said.

"Thereafter, Mrs. Andrues called the Southeast clinic, expressing concern about the way she felt and the level of her blood pressure and was told by a physician's assistant to go to the hospital - which she did. At the hospital, Dr. Bost, another physician at Southeast, examined her, and on the same day arranged for her immediate transfer to The Woman's Hospital of Texas in Houston, Texas.

"Following admission to that hospital and continuing medical problems related to her elevated blood pressure, it was ultimately decided to deliver Bethany via emergency (Caesarean section) on or about Feb. 5, 2006. (Shelly's daughter) was born at approximately 29 weeks gestation and due to complications related to prematurity, remained hospitalized for approximately eight weeks following birth."

The suit continues by saying Andrues and her daughter continued to suffer medical complications while hospitalized, and "in reasonable medical probability will continue to suffer medical problems and medical complications related to the acts and omissions of the Defendants for the remainder of (their lives)."

The suit alleges Dr. Pieternelle's treatment of Andrues fell bellow the standard of car and that Southeast Associates is also liable under the doctrine known as respondeat superior, Latin for "let the master answer," in which the employer assumes responsibility for any damages caused by an employee.

The plaintiffs are suing for past and future medical expenses, mental anguish, pain, impairment, lost wages and all court costs.

The plaintiffs are demanding a trial by jury and are represented by attorney Craig Lewis of The Lewis Law Firm.

Judge Gary Sanderson, 60th Judicial District, has been assigned to the case.

Case No. B180-977

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