Wrongful death suit filed against hospital, doctor over man's pneumonia

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Aug. 29, 2011, 6:50am

GALVESTON - Doris B. McKnight has filed suit against Signature Gulf Coast Hospital and Dr. Cynthia M. Ripsin over the 2009 death of her husband, Jimmie B. McKnight, from bilateral pneumonia.

According to a lawsuit filed Aug. 17 in Galveston County District Court, the defendants provided improper care and treatment to Jimmie McKnight which led to his death on the night of June 10, 2009.

Court papers show Jimmie B. McKnight went to the emergency department of Gulf Coast Medical Center on June 9, 2009, with complaints about breathing and associated respiratory problems.

Findings revealed "the possibility of mild interstitial pneumonia on the right" as well as "small bilateral pleural effusions," but physicians noted Jimmie B. McKnight to be in stable condition and discharged him.

Reportedly exhibiting signs of acute respiratory failure, he returned to the defendant's facility the next day and was admitted into the intensive care unit.

His previous chest X-rays were reviewed and confirmed to be consistent with right lower lobe pneumonia and his pneumonia was noted to have rapidly progressed overnight, the original petition says.

Efforts to improve his condition were unsuccessful as Jimmie B. McKnight expired at 10:01 p.m. that same night, according to the suit.

Doris B. McKnight blames the facility for vicarious liability and faults the defendants for negligence.

Consequently, she seeks damages including but not limited to survival and wrongful death damages.

A jury trial is requested.

Plummer & Kuykendall is representing the plaintiff, and Galveston County 56th District Court Judge Lonnie Cox is presiding over the case.

Case No. 11-cv-1336

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