Jurors find no negligence on part of doctor who treated stabbing victim

David Yates Jun. 1, 2010, 7:32am

When asked last Thursday if the medical treatment of Dr. Leroy Foster Jr. was in any way negligent and responsible for hastening the death of Thorne Lemon, who was stabbed in the back in March 2007, jurors answered no.

Lemon died while under the treatment of Christus St. Elizabeth Hospital and Dr. Foster Jr. hours after he was admitted.

As the Southeast Texas Record previously reported, Lemon's daughter, Deliiala, filed suit against the hospital and Dr. Foster, alleging her father died from a "lack of proper treatment," rather than a fatal knife wound.

On May 24, the trial of Deliiala Lemon et al vs. Dr. Leroy Foster began in Judge Milton Shuffield's 136th District Court.

Four days later jurors were asked to conclude if Foster's emergency medical treatment was performed with wanton negligence, and if such alleged negligent treatment was a proximate cause of Lemon's death.

Jurors found no negligence on Foster's behalf, ruling Foster died from his injuries.

Christus St. Elizabeth was not a defendant in the trial.

The hospital had been granted summary judgment and dismissed from the suit last July, since the plaintiffs were unable to present an adequate expert report to back up the their claims of negligence.

Deliiala Lemon and four of her relatives filed their suit on Feb. 19, 2009 in Jefferson County District Court.

On Wednesday, May 26, Deliiala Lemon testified that she was not present when Lemon was stabbed or when he died several hours later, nor could she say how exactly Dr. Foster was negligent.

The Lemon family asked jurors to award them more than $300,000 in damages for their mental anguish and loss.

In their lawsuit, the Lemon family had alleged Dr. Foster failed to recognize Lemon's symptoms, failed to inform him of his true physical state, failed to disclose the risks of the stab wound and failed to engage in acceptable practices to limit the likelihood of infection.

Deliiala Lemon and her family were represented by the Law Office of Joseph Onwuteaka in Houston.

Dr. Foster was represented in part by attorney Jeffrey Uzick.

Case No. D183-317

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