Woman claims she was burned by heating pads, sues local hospital

Kelly Holleran Oct. 14, 2009, 7:33am

A Port Arthur woman and her husband have filed suit against a Mid-Jefferson County hospital alleging she was severely burned by heating apd.

Pamela Sims, and her husband, Brian, filed suit against LTHM Groves-Operations doing business as Renaissance Hospital-Groves, Renaissance Hospital Inc. and Renaissance Healthcare Systems for what she claims were second- and third-degree burns after a physician attempted to treat suspected blood clots in the woman's right leg with a heating pad.

Pamela Sims was hospitalized at the Renaissance Hospital in Groves on Nov. 15, 2007, after undergoing bilateral knee replacements earlier in the year.

Not long after the surgery, Sims claims she began to experience pain in her right leg and was admitted to Renaissance Hospital through the emergency room with a likely diagnosis of deep vein thrombosis – a blood clot deep within a vein – or possibly a pulmonary embolism.

Among other treatments, her physician ordered Sims to be treated with warm compresses on her legs.

The complaint alleges a nurse either overheated a K-pad – a type of heating pad used in hospitals – or left it on Sims' leg too long.

As a result, Sims claims she suffered second- and third-degree burns to large portions of her right leg.

In late November 2007, Sims was released from the hospital, but her burns were so severe that she required home healthcare, according to the complaint.

"The wounds got worse, and ultimately Mrs. Sims required hospitalization on Dec. 12, 2007, at the Medical Center of Southeast Texas, where she underwent extensive treatment, surgery and debridement of her burn wounds," the suit states. "Following discharge from that facility, Mrs. Sims still required home healthcare for her burns and wounds through July 2008."

Sims claims that even now, nearly two years after the incident, she still has pain from the burns when she participates in certain activities and remains disfigured.

Pamela Sims is seeking damages for past and future physical pain, mental anguish, medical expenses, physical impairment, loss of earning capacity and disfigurement.

Because of the incident, Brian Sims claims he has lost earnings from time he was forced to take off work, has lost household services that used to be performed by his wife and has lost his wife's affection, solace, comfort, companionship, society, assistance, sexual relations, emotional support, love and felicity.

The Sims are seeking unspecified damages, plus pre- and post-judgment interest, costs and other relief to which they may be entitled.

Craig Lewis and John J. Brothers of The Lewis Law Firm in Houston will be representing them.

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

Jefferson County District Court case number: B185-086.

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