Med-mal settles, justices dismiss appeal

David Yates Aug. 10, 2010, 4:39am

Almost three years ago, Onita Bennett, the widow of a nursing home resident, sued several health care providers alleging they failed to supervise her husband and stop him from falling and fracturing his hip.

As the Southeast Texas reported in November 2007, Bennett filed a medical-malpractice suit against Pine Forest Nursing and Rehabilitation Centers, Southeast Texas Medical Associates (SETMA) and Dr. Syed Anwar in Jefferson County District Court on behalf of her late husband Elwood.

On Aug. 5 justices on the Ninth Court of Appeals issued a memorandum opinion stating that an appeal submitted by defendants Dr. Anwar and SETMA had been withdrawn.

Court records show the two parties settled with Bennett in May for an undisclosed amount.

According to the lawsuit, Elwood was a patient at Pine Forest. He suffered from dementia and needed to be restrained on a regular basis.

Bennett alleged the defendants failed to properly supervise her husband and allowed him to fall on multiple occasions.

"For example, on Oct. 13, 2005, Mr. Bennett was allowed to go to another resident's room unattended and was allowed to try to go to the bathroom by himself. He fell during the attempt," the lawsuit states. "He was also allowed to fall again the following February.

"These falls proximately resulted in Mr. Bennett's experiencing serious injuries including a fractured hip that required surgery, as well as a brain hemorrhage. These injuries proximately caused severe pain, disfigurement, cogitative decline and ultimate death."

In February, Dr. Anwar and SETMA filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the testimony of Bennett's medical expert failed to meet Chapter 74 of the Texas Civil Code.

Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th District Court, denied the motion the following month, leading the pair to file an appeal.

Five months later on July 14, Dr. Anwar and SETMA filed a motion to dismiss their appeal, stating that they had settled.

Bennett was seeking compensation for the damages suffered by Elwood, including physical pain, mental anguish, physical impairment, disfigurement and medical expenses.

Beaumont attorney Daniel W. Packard of Packard, Packard & LaPray represented her.

Dr. Anwar and Southeast Texas Medical Associates were represented in part by Houston attorney Marc Calvert.

Trial case No. D180-812
Appeals case No. 09-10-00136-CV

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