Justices to hear amputee's case against Beaumont Bone & Joint
In an attempt to keep several of its employees out of an ongoing lawsuit, Beaumont Bone & Joint Institute has filed an appeal asserting a local judge erred when he denied its motion to dismiss.
In July 2008, Ted Slaughter sued Beaumont Bone & Joint alleging the orthopedic center failed to promptly attend to his injury -- a delay which he claims led to the amputation of his right index finger.
Court papers show Slaughter maimed his left hand with a circular saw.
A year later, Slaughter amended the petition, adding Dr. Charles Domingues, two appointment schedulers and a medical assistant as defendants.
As required by Texas Civil law, Slaughter included an additional expert report regarding the actions of the new defendants.
In response, Beaumont Bone & Joint filed a motion to dismiss the newly named defendants on June 8, arguing the plaintiff's medical expert report was untimely and "defective in content."
Two weeks later, Judge Gary Sanderson, 60th Judicial District, denied the motion, which led Beaumont Bone & Joint to file an appeal.
On Jan. 14 justices of the Texas Ninth District Court of Appeals in Beaumont will hear oral arguments on the case.
According to its appellate brief, Beaumont Bone & Joint argues that the "trial court abused its discretion in failing to dismiss (Slaughter's) claims of direct negligence ... when these claims were not (thoroughly) discussed in any expert report."
Conversely, Slaughter argues the appellate court lacks jurisdiction over the matter and claims the expert report does not have to conform to Texas civil law since "no new claims were made in the amended petition."
After a serious injury involving a saw in 2006, Slaughter had surgery to repair his hand but claims he still has difficulty performing daily tasks. He blames the Beaumont Bone & Joint Institute for failing to refer him to a specialist in a timely manner.
The suit he filed July 18, 2008, named the medical practice and one of its physicians, Dr. John Taylor, as defendants, with Dr. Domingues and the three staff members added a year later.
Court papers say Slaughter sliced open the palm of his left hand while using a circular saw and was rushed to Memorial Hermann Baptist Hospital where his injury was treated and stitched.
The following day, Dr. Taylor evaluated Slaughter at the Beaumont Bone & Joint Institute "and recognized that his injury was 'substantial'" and included an injury to his palm's flexor tendon.
On July 26, 2006, Slaughter was seen by a specialist at Beaumont Bone & Joint for additional treatment. The specialist allegedly told Slaughter there had been "some confusion" over the scheduling of Slaughter's appointment.
Eventually, one of Slaughter's fingers had to be amputated.
Slaughter claims the alleged "confusion" and delay in treatment is medical negligence and is seeking exemplary damages for their alleged "heedless and reckless disregard of (his) rights," the suit says.
"To date, plaintiff continues to have stiffness of the remaining middle finger ... and lack of sensation in his palm," the suit says. "Because of the loss of his left index finger, Slaughter is no longer able to perform many of his daily functions."
In addition to exemplary damages, Slaughter is suing for mental anguish, medical expenses, disfigurement, pecuniary loss, impairment and actual damages.
Slaughter's attorney, Micky Das of the Tyler & Das Law firm in Houston, is also arguing that Texas' medical-malpractice damage caps are unconstitutional.
Beaumont Bone & Joint is represented in part by attorneys Gary Sommer, Matthew B.E. Hughes and R. Gregg Byrd of Boston & Hughes PC in Houston.
Appeals case No. 09-09-00316-CV
Trial case No. B182-079