Suit alleges hospital failed to prevent fatal heart attack

Kelly Holleran Nov. 18, 2008, 6:21am

The mother and two children of a recently deceased woman have filed suit against Christus St. Mary Hospital and a doctor, alleging the woman died after receiving incorrect treatment.

Stacy Meaux went to the emergency room at Christus St. Mary Hospital on Oct. 2, 2007, complaining of chest pain, chest discomfort and tightness, according to a complaint filed Nov. 13 in Jefferson County District Court.

While she was a patient at the hospital, doctors performed two EKGs on Meaux, the suit states.

Meaux's family claims one EKG was reported normal and another showed a Septal Infarct abnormal EKG.

Meaux was given Captopril 25 mg, an inhalation treatment with Albuterol, and was discharged at 8:15 p.m., according to the complaint.

EMS was dispatched to Meaux's house the following day, at 5 a.m. Oct. 3, where Meaux was taken by ambulance to the Medical Center of Southeast Texas after having a cardiac arrest, the suit states.

Meaux was apneic and pulseless when the ambulance arrived, and paramedics tried to resuscitate her without success, her family claims.

She died from acute myocardial infarction and severe atheroscierotic disease, which was confirmed by autopsy, according to the complaint.

Before her death, Meaux suffered from physical pain, physical impairment, mental anguish and incurred medical expenses, the suit states.

Mary Ann Licatino, Meaux's mother, claims she incurred funeral expenses, mental anguish and loss of love, affection, companionship and society.

Matthew Meaux and Celina Fairchild, Meaux's minor children, suffered mental anguish, the loss of love, companionship, society, advice and counsel, the loss of financial support and the loss of inheritance, according to the complaint.

Meaux suffered "gross abuse, extensive neglect and undue pain" while under the hospital's and Micheael W. Peterson's care, the suit states.

Meaux's family claims the nursing staff at Christus St. Mary Hospital violated nursing standards because they failed to assess Meaux's condition, failed to inquire and determine the nature of the chest pain and failed to discuss the case with the emergency room attending physician.

They also failed to trigger the chain of command with a call to the nursing supervisor or nursing director when no satisfactory resolution could be reached and failed to ask for orders from the ER physician for biochemical marker studies, according to the complaint.

Peterson was negligent because he failed to diagnose unstable angina, failed to perform biochemical marker studies, failed to admit Meaux for observation, failed to consult with a cardiologist and failed to perform stress testing, the suit states.

Meaux's family is seeking a judgment within the jurisdictional limits of the court, pre- and post-judgment interest at the legal rate, costs and other relief the court deems just.

Clay Dugas and Mike Jacobellis of Clay Dugas and Associates in Beaumont will be representing them.

The case has been assigned to Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th District Court.

Case No. D182-712

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