Suit against Memorial Hermann claims negligence caused man's sepsis, death

Kelly Holleran Apr. 27, 2009, 6:48am

The daughter of a deceased man claims the negligence of doctors at Memorial Hermann Baptist Beaumont Hospital caused the sepsis and pneumonia that led to his death.

Pamela Anderson filed a lawsuit April 22 in Jefferson County District Court against the hospital, Dr. Daniel Karnicki and Lanell Wilson, who is administrator of the estate of Dr. Mark A. Wilson.

Anderson says that her father, John T. Deccquir Sr., a double below-the-knee amputee, went to Memorial Hermann after he fell out of a wheelchair and struck his head on April 14, 2008.

"Following the fall John T. Decquir Sr. had slurred speech, sluggish or delayed response, and decreased grips," the suit states.

A CT scan of Decquir's spine after his fall revealed obvious abnormalities, the plaintiff claims.

However, Karnicki interpreted the CT scan as indicating only minimal degenerative change. Anderson alleges that there were no follow-up studies and no consult with a neurosurgeon because of Karnicki's misinterpretation.

"Over the course of the ensuing hours and days following his admission to Memorial Hermann Baptist Beaumont Hospital, John T. Decquir Sr.'s symptoms included a decrease in motor status, loss of sensory status, and an increase in neck and back pain," the suit states.

According to the complaint, physicians failed to recognize the obvious symptoms of a spinal cord injury displayed by Decquir and by April 25, 2008, he became "neurologically devastated."

In addition, upon Decquir's admittance to the hospital, he had a stage three pressure ulcer on his coccyx about three centimeters long by two centimeters wide. There was another ulcer on his penis that was two centimeters long by four centimeters wide, according to court records.

Because of hospital employees' negligence, by May 6 the ulcer on Decquir's coccyx had grown to 14.5 centimeters long by 20 centimeters wide. It was also covered with eschar, had purulent drainage, was inflamed, had a distinct odor and was necrotic, the complaint states.

On his admission to the hospital, Decquir had other documented wounds that included a laceration to his head, a laceration to his left arm and a skin breakdown from the fall on his left hand, Anderson claims.

But by May 6, Decquir developed new wounds on his bilateral ischial tuberosity, right stump and right flank, according to the complaint.

Eventually, Decquir's ulcers deteriorated and became infected. Soon after, the infection turned into full-blown sepsis, the suit states.

"Not only did John T. Decquir develop sepsis while under the care of Mark A. Wilson M.D. and the nursing staff at Memorial Hermann Baptist Beaumont Hospital, but he also developed pneumonia because appropriate preventative measures were never implemented," the suit states.

As a result of the sepsis and pneumonia, Decquir died on June 6, according to court records.

Before he died, Decquir sustained physical pain, mental anguish, disfigurement and physical impairment and incurred medical costs, Anderson says.

Because of his death, Pamela Anderson and Dequir's nine other children suffered a loss of his companionship and society and suffered mental anguish, according to the complaint. They also incurred funeral and burial expenses, the suit states.

Anderson claims Karnicki, Wilson and Memorial Hermann Baptist Beaumont Hospital were guilty of negligence.

Anderson is seeking an unspecified judgment, plus pre- and post-judgment interest at the highest legal rate, costs and other relief to which she may be entitled.

Michael Maloney and Gavin McInnis of Maloney and Maloney in San Antonio and Clay Dugas of Clay Dugas and Associates in Beaumont will be representing her.

The case has been assigned to Judge Gary Sanderson, 60th District Court.

Jefferson County District Court case number: B183-860.

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