Justices find expert report adequate in med mal

David Yates Apr. 9, 2012, 8:16am


Last Thursday, the Ninth Court of Appeals found that a local judge was correct when he denied dismissal of a malpractice complaint on the grounds that the plaintiffs' expert report was inadequate.

As previously reported, Wyoming Newman filed suit April 11, 2011, in Jefferson County District Court against Dr. Erwin Lo, Golden Triangle Neurocare and Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas, alleging she was left a quadriplegic following spinal surgery.

As required by Texas Civil law, Newman filed a medical expert report on July 5 to substantiate her claim, court records show.

Defendants Lo and GTN objected to the report and filed a motion to dismiss, which was denied by Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court, on Nov. 18.

On Dec. 22 the Ninth Court in Beaumont issued an order to stay discovery while justices evaluated an accelerated appeal brought by Lo and GTN, court records show.

Ninth Court justices affirmed Floyd's ruling on April 5.

"On appeal ... the health care providers contend that the trial court erred when it found the report the Newmans filed in support of their suit sufficient, which allowed the suit to proceed," writes Justice Hollis Horton in court's opinion.

"Because we conclude the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying the health care providers' motion to dismiss, we affirm the trial court's order."

According to the lawsuit, Newman visited a neurosurgeon, Dr. Chavis, following an automobile accident in 2007.

Court records show that Newman has a separate lawsuit against the business she holds responsible for causing the collision, Calder Cleaners.

Dr. Lo performed spinal surgery on Newman on Jan. 28, 2009 -- more than one year after the initial MRI, according to the complaint. However, he failed to properly interpret the MRI results and performed a corpectomy instead of taking Chavis' recommendations.

As a result, Newman woke up with no feeling in her legs and a weak sensation in her arms, the complaint says.

The suit alleges Baptist Hospital is also negligent because of its failure to properly assess and monitor Newman following her surgery and its failure to go up the chain of command when Dr. Lo elected not to take immediate action, according to the complaint.

Clay Dugas and Mike Jacobellis of Clay Dugas and Associates in Beaumont represent Newman.

Woodlands attorney Curry Cooksey of Orgain Bell & Tucker represent Baptist.

James R. Boston Jr. and Gary Sommer of Boston & Hughes PC in Houston represent Lo and GTN.

Trial case No. E189-751
Appeals case No. 09-11-00697-CV

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