Gulf Healthcare settles suit over death of 87-year-old hospice patient

David Yates Jul. 23, 2012, 12:19pm


Gulf Healthcare Center and plaintiff Patsy Monson have reached a settlement in a lawsuit filed over the care of Mary Helen Smith, an 87-year-old hospice patient who allegedly died while "suffering festering ulcers."

As previously reported, on Nov. 16, 2010, Monson filed a medical malpractice claim in Jefferson County District Court, alleging Smith received no treatment for the ulcers in her final days.

Court records show that on April 18 the parties filed an agreed motion to dismiss, stating they had settled and compromised the issue in controversy.

Judge Bob Wortham, 58th District Court, granted the motion on April 26, dismissing Gulf Healthcare with prejudice.

The case was slated to go to trial in May.

Gulf Healthcare cared for Smith before her death on Dec. 21, 2008. According to the suit, she was suffering from multiple ulcers at the time of her death.

"All of the conditions arose while she was under the care of defendants and caused by the negligence of the employees of defendants," the suit states. "After suffering pain and the festering ulcers for which she received virtually no care, Smith died."

Monson alleged the hospice should have taken measures to prevent and treat the ulcers.

She was suing for general and special damages.

Attorney Michael McGown of the Benchenstein, Norvell and Nathan law firm in Beaumont represented her.

Dallas attorney Jess Rickmann III of Hallett & Perrin represented Gulf Healthcare.

Case No. A188-818

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