Malpractice suit claims doctors failed to aggressively treat blood disorder

Kelly Holleran Jul. 18, 2011, 7:33am

The wife and family of a recently deceased man claim he died after a doctor at Christus Health Southeast Texas failed to take appropriate measures following surgery.

Linda Lowe, Amanda Lowe, Melissa Lowe and Laura Singletary filed a lawsuit June 27 in Jefferson County District Court against Christus Health Southeast Texas, doing business as Christus Hospital St. Elizabeth and Dr. Steven K. Sooudi.

In their complaint, the plaintiffs claim their husband and father, Arthur Lowe, was admitted to Christus St. Elizabeth on June 27, 2009, with complaints of recurrent chest pains.

Doctors found Arthur Lowe to be suffering from recurrent coronary obstruction, admitted him to the hospital and treated him with medical therapy, according to the complaint. Doctors inserted a heart catheter into Arthur Lowe's chest and gave him an anticoagulant to keep his blood from clotting, the suit states.

However, during surgery, doctors discovered Arthur Lowe's artery walls had separated and stopped the anticoagulant, the complaint says.

Following the surgery, Arthur Lowe's heart rate increased from 65 beats per minute to 115 beats per minute and, eventually, 190 beats per minute, the plaintiffs claim. In addition, he produced virtually no urine and complained of severe back pain, according to the complaint.

Doctors discovered a large packet of blood in Arthur Lowe's lower back, known as a retroperitoneal hematoma, and rushed him into intensive care where emergency workers ordered the transfer of red blood cells, the suit states.

On July 1, 2009, Arthur Lowe's hemoglobin and hematocrit levels had fallen very low and his heart rate continued to increase, the complaint says. Transfusions did little to stop Arthur Lowe's hypotensive, tachycardic and anemic state, the plaintiffs claim.

At 9 p.m. on July 1, 2009, Arthur Lowe died, according to the complaint.

Before his death, Arthur Lowe suffered physical pain, physical impairment and mental anguish and incurred medical costs, the suit states.

Because of Arthur Lowe's death, his family incurred funeral costs, suffered mental anguish and lost their husband's and father's love, affection, companionship and society, the complaint says.

The plaintiffs blame the hospital for contributing to Arthur Lowe's death, saying it negligently failed to inquire and determine the nature of the hemodynamic instability in association with the low urine output.

In addition, the hospital negligently failed to consult with the attending physician about the cessation and reversal of anticoagulant therapy and failed to trigger the chain of command, according to the complaint.

Sooudi failed to properly examine, diagnose and intervene in Arthur Lowe's health condition, also contributing to his death, the suit states.

Had he acted as he should have, Sooudi would have ordered aggressive intervention, including fluid and blood replacement, an emergency diagnostic evaluation and surgical intervention by a vascular surgical specialist, the complaint says.

In their complaint, the plaintiffs seek a judgment within the jurisdictional limits of Jefferson County District Court, plus pre- and post-judgment interest at the legal rate, costs and other relief the court deems just.

Clay Dugas and Mike Jacobellis of Beaumont will be representing them.

Judge Bob Wortham, 58th District Court, has been assigned to the case.

Case No. A190-411

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