Doctor seeks summary judgment, claims no evidence of gross negligence

David Yates Oct. 19, 2009, 9:00am

A physician fingered in a wrongful death suit will ask a local judge later this month to dismiss the gross negligence claims filed against him "because there is no convincing evidence."

In March 2007, the Southeast Texas Record reported on a suit filed by the family of a Vidor woman, which claimed Christus Hospital St. Elizabeth and several physicians failed to prevent and treat their matriarch's heart attack.

The suit, filed on behalf of the late Lynette Paderas, specifically faulted Dr. Erwin Lo for gross negligence. Dr. Lo, a neurosurgeon, performed surgery on Paderas' cervical spine on April 10, 2006, court papers say.

A few weeks later, she died of heart failure on May 4, 2006.

Court papers show that following the surgery, Paderas had symptoms of pain and weakness in her neck, shoulders, arms and chest.

Two days before her death, she was admitted to St. Elizabeth on May 2, 2006 for treatment for dehydration. An EKG reading showed an acute myocardial infarction, a sign of heart duress.

"Neither Dr. Lo nor his associate, (defendant) Dr. Mark Kubala saw the EKG results or were informed of the EKG results," Dr. Lo's motion for summary judgment states. "None of the hospital's nurses treating Mrs. Paderas recalled seeing the EKG report."

The Paderas family's suit alleges that Lo, Kubala, nurses and employees of St. Elizabeth were aware, or should have been aware, of the EKG and negligently failed to take any steps to treat Paderas for a heart attack.

"The defendants were aware that Paderas was at risk of a heart attack, yet failed to include acute infarct during diagnosis, failed to obtain a timely cardiology consultation and failed to disclose to the patient's family that Paderas was suffering from a heart attack," the suit states.

A hearing for partial summary judgment was slated for Oct. 23 in Judge Donald Floyd's 172nd District Court but was reset for Oct. 30.

Dr. Lo is asking Judge Floyd to grant him partial summary judgment and dismiss the plaintiffs' claims of gross negligence, "because there is no evidence or testimony that (he) was grossly negligent in his treatment of Lynette Paderas."

The plaintiffs – Paderas' husband, David Paderas, and children Melissa Ratliff, Chad Reed and Jarrod Reed – are seeking to recover exemplary damages, medical expenses, mental anguish, physical pain, funeral expenses and lost wages.

They are represented by David Dies, Sandee Hart and Steve Parkhurst of Orange.

Dr. Lo is represented by Houston attorney James Boston Jr.

Case No. E178-834

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