David Yates Nov. 12, 2012, 12:36pm

Discovery has started in a medical malpractice suit claiming a bedsore caused a local woman to lose much of the use of her right arm.

As previously reported, Ruth Boles filed a lawsuit May 23 in Jefferson County District Court against Christus Health Southeast Texas, doing business as Christus Hospital St. Elizabeth.

Boles alleges she went to St. Elizabeth in Beaumont on March 8, 2010, with complaints of respiratory distress. Because of her medical condition, employees at the hospital placed bilateral restraints on her for about 11 days, according to the complaint.

Court records show Christus answered the suit on June 18, asserting a general denial and questioning whether the plaintiff’s claims may be barred by limitations.

On Oct. 8 a certificate of discovery was filed, showing that Boles forwarded the defendant her interrogatories and request for production.

Due to her medical state, Boles was given daily assessments to determine whether she was developing decubitus ulcers. Despite these frequent checks, Boles claims she still developed two ulcers before leaving the hospital on March 22, 2010.

“Several Braden assessments prior to March 20, 2010, indicate that the nurses noted no skin breakdown of any kind,” the suit states. “From March 20, 2010, to March 22, 2010, no Braden assessments, nursing notes, consultations, or any evaluations of any kind are present in the St. Elizabeth hospital chart at all which indicate that Ms. Boles’s sacral area was ever examined.”

In spite of her worsening skin condition, Boles was released from the hospital. From there, she went home for six days, but her condition worsened, and she returned to Christus on March 28, 2010, where doctors found two second- or third-degree decubitus ulcers — one on her right elbow and one on the sacral, the suit states.

After months of treatment, the sacral ulcer healed, but left an enormous scar on Boles’s back, the complaint says. However, she claims she experienced even more significant problems with the ulcer on her right elbow before it healed.

Because of the incident, Boles claims she has suffered physical and mental pain, anguish, discomfort and disfigurement.

She seeks a judgment within the jurisdictional limits of Jefferson County District Court, plus pre- and post-judgment interest, attorneys’ fees, costs, punitive damages and other relief the court deems just.

Collin Cobb of Harris, Duesler and Hatfield in Beaumont represents her.

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

Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court, has been assigned to the case.

Case No. E192-481

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