Dubuis, Christus non-suited from wrongful death suit

David Yates Jan. 5, 2011, 8:32am

After failing to obtain a favorable summary judgment ruling last year, two area hospitals have finally been non-suited in a medical malpractice complaint alleging a wrongful death.

Court records show Randolph Varnado Jr. was admitted to Christus Hospital St. Mary and Dubuis Hospital of Port Arthur while being treated for pneumonia.

He died during his treatment, leading Mary Varnado, Randolph's wife, to sue the two hospitals in November 2008.

Last January, the hospitals unsuccessfully argued that there is no evidence of medical negligence, asking Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd Judicial District, to grant them summary judgment.

However, on Dec. 7 Judge Floyd signed an order granting the plaintiff's motion for non-suit, effectively dismissing the two defendants with prejudice, court records show.

Case background

Representing the estate of her husband, Mary filed the suit against the hospitals on Nov. 4, 2008, in Jefferson District Court.

She alleged that between June 27, 2007, and Aug. 4, 2007, her husband received subpar medical treatment and was repeatedly transferred back and forth from the two hospitals.

Court papers show that Randolph died on Aug. 4, 2007. The suit does not state how he died or how the hospitals are specifically responsible for his death. However, medical documents state the hospitals should have caught a fracture in the plaintiff's arm earlier than they did.

Randolph was 81 years old at the time of his death.

In a past motion for summary judgment, filed Oct. 22, 2009, Dubuis Hospital argues that Mary's "only claims against Dubuis stem from the alleged negligent acts of" a St. Mary's radiology technician who missed the bone fracture.

"A hospital is not liable for the negligence of a health care provider who is an independent contractor," the motion states.

"Therefore, because the employees of St. Mary's Hospital were independent contractors, and because plaintiff has no evidence to meet her burden, summary judgment is proper as a matter of law."

Mary was suing for survival damages and her husband's mental anguish and pain.

She is represented by attorney Jacqueline Ryall of Sheldon & Dunham.

The hospitals are represented in part by Houston attorney Wade Quinn of the Ramey, Chandler, McKinley & Zito law firm.

Case No. E182-672

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