Pinnacle settles med-mal after losing appeal

David Yates Jan. 20, 2012, 3:58am

After losing an appeal, Pinnacle Healthcare has elected to settle a medical malpractice claim.

Delores Calvin and Herman Johnson sued Pinnacle Health, doing business as The Oaks at Beaumont, and one of its doctors in June 2009, alleging their mother died from shock after being given incorrect dosages of anticoagulants.

Court records show that on Aug. 30 Pinnacle filed a motion to dismiss with prejudice, stating that although the company has already tendered the settlement funds in full to the plaintiffs, the plaintiffs have not filed a motion to dismiss.

Judge Bob Wortham, 58th District Court, issued a final dismissal order three days later, court papers say.

Earlier that year, Pinnacle Healthcare Facilities had filed a notice of appeal on Jan. 19, arguing that Judge Wortham erred in not striking the plaintiffs' medical expert report, granting its motion for summary judgment and dismissing it from the case.

On appeal, Pinnacle argued that the reports by Dr. David Mansfield, who holds board certifications in the fields of family practice and wound care, and Melody Antoon, a registered nurse, were insufficient.

According to court documents, Ninth Court justices issued an opinion on June 16, concluding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in ruling that the reports of Dr. Mansfield and nurse Antoon meet the requirements of expert reports under Texas law.

Court records show the plaintiffs' mother, Jessie Johnson, was admitted to The Oaks at Beaumont on May 30, 2007, because of dementia, a previous stroke and atrial fibrillation requiring anticoagulant therapy.

A few months later, Jessie Johnson began vomiting blood on July 9, 2007, which the plaintiffs allege was because her anticoagulant levels were still sub-therapeutic and her physician, defendant Dr. William George, failed to correctly treat her.

The suit states that she was transferred to Memorial Hermann Baptist Beaumont Hospital where doctors found her to be in shock from anemia from gastrointestinal hemorrhage caused by anticoagulant use.

"Even though Jessie Johnson was transfused and her anticoagulation was corrected, she could not over come the lethal effects of the shock and metabolic acidosis and after 2 cardiac arrests in the ICU she died on July 10, 2007," the suit states.

Last year, Pinnacle Healthcare filed motions arguing the plaintiffs failed to substantiate their claims and had no evidence that The Oaks was negligent in causing her death, court records show.

Judge Wortham denied all of Pinnacle Healthcare's motions on Jan. 12, prompting the company to file its notice of appeal seven days later, according to court records.

Clay Dugas and Mike Jacobellis of Clay Dugas and Associates in Beaumont represented the plaintiffs.

Beaumont attorney William Little of MehaffyWeber represented pinnacle Healthcare.

Trial case No. A184-366
Appeals case No. 09-11-00025-CV

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