Judge Ok's expert report in med-mal over brain damaged newborn

David Yates Aug. 17, 2012, 5:28am


Following an Aug. 16 hearing, a Beaumont judge overruled a physician's objections to an expert report filed in a case alleging a baby was born with severe brain damage because of a lack of treatment and assessment.

Brittany Stevens, on behalf of Ju'Kaylen Chretian, filed suit against Dr. Gene Berry and Christus Hospital St. Elizabeth on Feb. 13 in Jefferson County District Court.

To fulfill the requirements of Chapter 74 of the Texas Civil Code, Stevens filed two expert reports, one by Dr. Ezell Autrey, an obstetrician, and Anna Flournoy, a nurse, court records show.

On June 21 Dr. Barry filed an objection to the reports and a motion to dismiss.

Court records show that on Aug. 13 Stevens filed a response, stating that Dr. Autrey has 27 years of experience and is qualified to render an opinion.

A hearing on the matter was held Aug. 16 in Judge Bob Wortham's 58th District Court.

During the hearing, the defense argued Dr. Autrey's report does not state how he is qualified to render an opinion on causation and only musters a conclusory statement - making his findings deficient.

Judge Wortham said the report was "one of the better reports" that he's seen in a long time and overruled the objection at the conclusion of the hearing.

The lawsuit states that on Feb. 1, 2010, Stevens, 40 weeks pregnant, presented to Christus complaining of pain. She was discharged and returned the following day only to be discharged again.

"She returned the next day and Dr. Berry arrived two hours later. Ju'Kaylen's heart rate steadily decreased over the next several hours," the suit states. "JuKaylen was born septic and with severe brain damage from lack of oxygen."

Stevens alleges the defendants were negligent in assessing and treating the plaintiffs during the days before and after labor and delivery.

The plaintiffs are suing for their alleged past and future medical expenses, mental anguish, pain, impairment, disfigurement and lost wages, plus all court costs.

Woodlands attorney Tommy Hastings represents them.

Dr. Berry is represented by Matthew Prewett, attorney for the Houston law firm Shepherd, Scott, Clawater & Houston.

Case No. A191-948

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