Med-mal suit claims woman died after unnecessary surgery

Kelly Holleran Oct. 23, 2008, 5:00am

The family of a Jefferson County woman has filed a wrongful death suit against Memorial Hermann Baptist Beaumont Hospital, two doctors and an anesthesiologist, claiming her death was caused because their negligence.

Paul Sebile Sr. claims his wife, Laura Sebile, died on Nov. 8, 2006, after doctors performed an unnecessary surgery.

Laura first went to Memorial Hermann Baptist Beaumont Hospital on Oct. 22, 2006, complaining of shortness of breath and pain, according to the complaint filed Oct. 21 in Jefferson County District Court. The suit was filed by Paul Sebile and seven of the couple's children.

The suit alleges that Laura was discharged on advice and pain pills even though a chest X-ray found evidence suggesting congestive heart failure.

Dr. Arfeen Qamar referred Laura to Dr. Fallon Gordan, and she was immediately booked for a biopsy of her lymph nodes on Oct. 25, 2006.

Neither doctor took into account the possible reason for Laura's problem may have been congestive heart failure, according to the complaint.

In addition, the doctor did not order a cardiology consult before Laura's surgery despite her past open heart surgery, the suit states.

Paul claims before the biopsy, Laura was placed under anesthesiology by Dr. Juan Manuel Gonzalez, who did not check her medical history.

Gordon, who had ordered the anesthesiologist, also failed to perform necessary tests before ordering the doctor, the suit states.

During the "unnecessary" and "risky" procedure, Gordon punctured Laura's heart, according to the complaint.

A cardiac surgeon was called in to stop the massive bleeding, which had started after the puncture, the suit states.

Laura could not eat or talk after the incident, developed multi-organ failure and died 13 days later on Nov. 8, 2006, according to the complaint.

Later, Paul claims he found out the only samples ever sent to pathology were rib fragments, not lung tissue as originally planned.

Laura suffered gross abuse, extensive neglect and undue pain while she was a patient at the hospital and under the care of its doctors, according to the complaint.

"Mrs. Sebile's basic needs were ignored and her dignity was disregarded," the suit states.

She also sustained severe pain and suffering, mental anguish and physical impairment, the suit states.

Paul claims the couple also incurred substantial medical costs.

In addition, the family became responsible for funeral costs, the suit states.

Paul and his children claim to have suffered mental anguish, loss of companionship and loss of inheritance.

Paul and his children claim Qamar, Gordon and Gonzalez were negligent because they did not perform standard tests and did not provide Laura with the standard of care she was due.

Memorial Hermann Baptist Beaumont Hospital was negligent because it failed to provide adequate supervision to ensure a safe place for its patients, the suit states.

Paul and his children are seeking unspecified damages, prejudgment interest and interest on the judgment, costs and other relief the court deems appropriate.

They are represented by Jane S. Leger of Provost Umphrey Law Firm in Beaumont.

The case has been assigned to District Judge Gary Sanderson.

Case No. B182-575

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