Plaintiff rests in amputee's medical malpractice trial

David Yates Feb. 11, 2009, 7:17am

Brian Sutton

Plaintiff's attorney Brian Sutton has rested his case against one healthcare facility and several doctors on Wednesday, Feb. 11, as the trial of Jerry Sylvester vs. Christus et al approaches its end.

The medical malpractice trial began Jan. 21 in Judge Milton Shuffield's 136th District Court. The defense will probably rest its case on Friday, Feb. 13, according to a courthouse clerk.

Jerry Sylvester was shot in the leg on April 14, 2004, and received emergency care at Christus Hospital St. Elizabeth and then continued treatment with Drs. Charles Domingues and Daniel Thompson at Beaumont Bone & Joint Institute.

According to testimony the bullet shattered Sylvester's fibula.

Later after his leg had to be amputated, Sylvester filed suit against Christus, Domingues, Thompson and Beaumont Bone & Joint in 2006.

Christus settled out of court in December and the case against the other defendants proceeded to trial.

Dr. Swan, the plaintiff's medical expert, testified that Sylvester's wound was mislabeled, negligently cared for and not properly cleaned - all factors he said led to the amputation of his right leg.

Although Dr. Domingues testified that he re-cleaned the wound and prescribed antibiotics for Sylvester, the plaintiff's counsel argue that had the doctor properly cleaned the wound, Sylvester would still have his leg.

In the subsequent surgeries to repair Sylvester's leg, testimony and court records show that no debris was ever found in Sylvester's wound.

"There are forces beyond our control," Dr. Domingues testified. "We can facilitate healing, but we cannot command it."
Sylvester is asking jurors to award him money for his mental anguish, impairment and medical expenses.

The defendants are represented by Marion Kruse Jr. of the Kruse Law Firm in Houston.

Case No. D177-259

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