Woman blames hospital employees for causing her husband's death

Kelly Holleran Mar. 20, 2013, 10:55am

A California woman claims doctors at an Austin hospital failed to adequately care for her husband, causing him to sustain fatal brain injuries after he struck his head during a fall. 

Marilyn Caillouette filed a lawsuit March 7 in Jefferson County District Court against Christus Health Southeast Texas, doing business as Christus Hospital St. Elizabeth.

In her complaint, Marilyn Caillouette claims her husband, Edgar Caillouette, was admitted to Christus St. Elizabeth on March 7, 2012, after he was found unconscious on the floor of his home.

Doctors at the hospital diagnosed Edgar Caillouette with a moderate brain injury. Because of Edgar Caillouette’s state of confusion following the March 7 incident and due to his propensity to leave his bed, Marilyn Caillouette agreed to the use of wrist restraints when Edgar Caillouette was left unsupervised, according to the complaint.

By March 15, Edgar Caillouette seemed to be on his way toward a recovery and was transferred from the Intensive Care Unit to the hospital’s telemetry floor, the suit states. Talks soon turned to his discharge from the rehabilitation facility, the complaint says.

On March 21, Marilyn Caillouette claims she joined her husband for breakfast. The wrist restraints were removed so Edgar Caillouette could eat, according to the complaint. He then went for a walk with nursing staff and was returned to a chair in his room, the suit states.

By 11 a.m., Edgar Caillouette grew sleepy and was assisted to bed, the complaint says. The bed rails were raised and a call light was left on Edgar Caillouette, his wife claims. However, the staff failed to place wrist restraints on Edgar Caillouette, according to the complaint.

At some point, Marilyn Caillouette left the room with the telemetry strips working, the suit states. The strips indicated that Edgar Caillouette removed his medical equipment at 1:41 p.m.

At 1:54 p.m., a nurse entered the room and discovered that Edgar Caillouette had gotten out of bed and fallen. When the nurse found him, Edgar Caillouette was laying face-down in front of the bathroom door surrounded by a pool of blood, the complaint says.

Hospital staff successfully resuscitated Edgar Caillouette. However, they soon discovered that he had suffered a profound and irreversible brain injury during his fall, Marilyn Caillouette claims.

On March 24, 2012, Edgar Caillouette died because of the brain injuries he suffered during the fall, according to the complaint.

“Prior to this immediate event, he was expected to make a substantial recovery from his prior, more moderate brain injury,” the suit states. “While it is unlikely that he would have returned to work at Parsons Corporation, he looked forward to retirement and years to spend with his wife.”

Because of her husband’s death, Marilyn Caillouette incurred funeral and burial costs, the complaint says. She also claims she lost his companionship and society and suffered mental anguish.

Marilyn Caillouette alleges negligence against the hospital, saying it removed the wrist restraints and failed to replace them, allowed Edgar Caillouette to remain unattended in a room without the wrist restraints on, failed to timely respond to the interruption of a telemetry signal and failed to property monitor Edgar Caillouette.

In her complaint, Marilyn Caillouette seeks an unspecified judgment, plus post-judgment interest at the legal rate, pre-judgment interest, costs and other relief the court deems just.

Marc E. Stewart of Stewart and Ray in Little Rock, Ark., will be representing her.

Judge Bob Wortham, 58th District Court, has been assigned to the case.

Case No. A194-131

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