Trial begins in malpractice case over missing heart monitor

David Yates Oct. 3, 2011, 11:30am

Following several appeals over medical reports and more than four years of litigation, a medical malpractice lawsuit over the death of Dorothy Broussard has finally gone to trial.

As previously reported, on June 25, 2007, Preston Broussard, on behalf of his late wife, sued Christus Hospital St. Mary, Dubuis Hospital and Dr. Sreedhar Polavarapu.

Court records show that Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court, dismissed Christus from the lawsuit on April 9, 2010.

Jury selection in the case against the suit's remaining defendants, Dubuis Hospital and Dr. Polavarapu, began Monday, Oct. 3.

According the plaintiffs' original petition, on April 9, 2005, the breathing tube connected to Dorothy Broussard was inadvertently removed.

"The hospital staff was not aware of the event because Mrs. Broussard's 'finger light' (heart monitor) had been removed earlier that day," the petition states. "Due to the lack of oxygen over an extended period of time (because the 'finger light' was removed, no one at the hospital was aware of the patient's plight), Mrs. Broussard fell into a coma, and passed away on July 12, 2005."

Allegedly, the "defendants' failure to safely monitor and restrain Dorothy Broussard led to the deprivation of oxygen that caused Mrs. Broussard's untimely demise," the suit states.

"Plaintiff Cody Broussard, the 10-year-old son of Mrs. Broussard, ran ahead of his father into his mother's hospital room. Cody Broussard was the first person to find the oxygen tube hanging on the side of his mother's hospital bed, and found his mother gagging for air," the lawsuit states.

"Mrs. Broussard had stopped breathing, and according to Cody and his father Preston, Mrs. Broussard's skin color had turned 'purple.'"

Preston Broussard is seeking damages for pecuniary loss, medical services, physical pain and suffering, mental pain and anguish, disfigurement, physical impairment, loss of consortium and loss of enjoyment of life.

He is represented by John C. Osborne PLLC of Houston.

Dubuis is represented by Houston attorney Erin Lunceford of the Munisteri, Sprott, Rigby, Newsom & Robbins law firm.

Attorney James Edwards represents Dr. Polavarapu.

Case No. E179-564

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