Med-mal suit claims doctors missed perforated bowel

Marilyn Tennissen Sep. 8, 2010, 3:56pm

A Jefferson County man has filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against two Port Arthur surgeons and their medical practice claiming the doctors failed to diagnose and treat his perforated bowel.

Michael Sanders filed the suit against Dr. John A Schmidt, Dr. Barry R. Miller and Port Arthur Surgical Associates PA on Sept. 3 in Jefferson County District Court.

According to the complaint, on Dec. 20, 2009, Sanders was brought to the emergency room of Christus Hospital St. Mary in Port Arthur after being struck in the abdomen by a tree limb he was cutting.

Sanders was admitted to the hospital and the admitting physician requested a surgical consult with Dr. Miller. Thereafter Sanders saw either Dr. Miller or his partner, Dr. Schmidt. The defendants saw Sanders from Dec. 20 to Dec. 27, 2009.

The suit claims a CT scan of Sanders' abdomen and pelvis showed fluid throughout the abdomen and he had persistent abdominal distention, pain, tachycardia and leukocytosis throughout his stay at St. Mary.

The plaintiff alleges the doctors failed to take appropriate steps to determine if there was a bowel perforation or other conditions requiring surgery, "despite signs and symptoms indicating a perforation."

"Both physicians were negligent in failing to perform laparascopy and/or laparotomy when Mr. Sanders' CT scan suggested a bowel injury and his clinical condition indicated peritoneal irritation and/or sepsis," the suit states. "Stated simply, the Defendants observed Mr. Sanders' condition progress from the initial trauma to septic shock and intra-abdominal sepsis, without appropriately intervening, and it was not until another physician intervened that Mr. Sanders was ultimately transferred to Christus St. Elizabeth Hospital for the care and treatment that he most desperately needed."

The suit alleges Drs. Miller and Schmidt were negligent and breached the standard of care in their treatment of Sanders.

Sanders is seeking damages for past and future physical pain, mental anguish, physical impairment and loss of earnings.

A written expert report from Dr. Brian Camazine is attached to the original complaint.

Jury trial requested.

Craig Lewis of The Lewis Law Firm in Houston is representing the plaintiff.

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

Case No. D187-948

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