Medical malpractice suit claims woman should have remained in intensive care

Kelly Holleran May 19, 2010, 9:00am

The family of a deceased woman allege she died because doctors sent her home instead of allowing her to remain in an intensive care unit following heart surgery.

Henry Jones, Leonard Jones and Lisa Brown filed a lawsuit on behalf of Janell Jones on May 7 in Jefferson County District Court against The Medical Center of Southeast Texas, Iasis Healthcare Corp. and Dr. Nabeel Abdullah.

The plaintiffs claim their 57-year-old mother and wife, Janell Jones, visited the Medical Center on May 12, 2008, complaining of chest pain and fainting.

Dr. Abdullah consulted with Janell Jones and noted her pain started in the afternoon with a sensation of pressure across her chest, according to the complaint.

After her resting pulse was measured at 109 beats per minute and her blood pressure at 151/104, Janell Jones was moved to telemetry with a presumptive diagnosis of acute coronary syndrome.

Once in telemetry, doctors placed Janell Jones on bed rest, the suit states. In addition, they treated her with 81 milligrams of aspirin per day, topical nitroglycerine, beta blockade, anxiolytic therapy, GERD therapy and supplemental oxygen, the complaint says.

On May 13, 2008, doctors performed a cardiac catheterization on Janell Jones, and inserted a stent into her left anterior descending artery and circumflex vessels after discovering significant obstructions during the procedure, the plaintiffs claim. After the catheterization, doctors transferred Janell Jones to coronary care and added 75 milligrams of Plavix to her medications, according to the complaint.

Following the procedure, Janell Jones complained of recurrent chest pain, so at around 10:00 a.m. May 14, doctors performed an EKG, which showed a heart rhythm with elevated rates of impulses otherwise known as sinus tachycardia, the suit states. Despite Jones' elevated heart rate and her recent chest pain, doctors transferred her out of the intensive care unit on May 14, 2008, and to her home on May 15, 2008, the complaint says.

On May 19, 2008, Janell Jones returned to Dr. Abdullah's office, complaining of chest pain and shortness of breath, the plaintiffs claim. In turn, Abdullah recommended Janell Jones use sublingual nitro for her chest pain, to increase her Lopressor to 50 milligrams, to add the antianginal therapy Ranexa to her medication and to return to the emergency room if her chest pain continued, according to the complaint.

Still, Janell Jones' chest pain continued, and she returned to the emergency room on May 23, 2008, with additional complaints of nausea, lethargy, active vomiting and diaphoretic, the suit states. It took 20 minutes for hospital workers to transfer Janell Jones from the car to the emergency room, and once she arrived in the emergency room, Janell Jones collapsed in cardiac arrest, the complaint says.

"Despite respiratory therapy with bag-valve-mask, intubation and CPR per ACLS protocol, the patient could not be resuscitated and was pronounced dead at 1433 hours on 05/23/08," the suit states. "An autopsy performed stated the cause of death was attributed to severe atheroscierotic heart disease."

In their complaint, the plaintiffs allege negligence against the defendants, saying they failed to provide her with correct treatment for her recurring ischemia.

"Had standards been followed and proper therapy applied, as described, the likelihood of survival would have been, in reasonable medical probability, >95%," the suit states.

Because of their mother's and wife's death, the plaintiffs incurred funeral expenses, suffered mental anguish and lost her love, affection, companionship and society, the complaint says.

The plaintiffs seek a judgment within the jurisdictional limits of Jefferson County District Court, plus pre- and post-judgment interest, costs and other relief the court deems just.

Clay Dugas and Mike Jacobellis of Clay Dugas and Associates in Beaumont will be representing her.

The case has been assigned to Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th District Court.

Jefferson County District Court case number: D186-807.

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