Mom says Orange hospital turned away son

By Marilyn Tennissen | Aug 13, 2007

After being turned away from an Orange hospital, Mack Ivory White died of cardiac arrest later at a Galveston facility. White's mother claims the negligence of the doctors and staff in Orange were the cause of her son's death.

Zettie Andrus, as wrongful death beneficiary of Mack Ivory White, filed a lawsuit against Dr. Syed Zaheer, Dr. James Grossman and Memorial Hermann Baptist Orange Hospital in Jefferson County District Court on Aug. 9.

According to the plaintiff's original petition, White, 41, sought emergency medical treatment for nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hemoptysis, dizziness and weakness at 8 .m. Sept. 12, 2005, at the Emergency Department of Memorial Hermann.

White was attended by Dr. Zaheer and members of the nursing staff, who were aware that White suffered from thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP),a rare blood condition characterised by the formation of small clots within the circulation, which results in the consumption of platelets and thus a low platelet count. He had also suffered a recent myocardial infarction for which he had been treated at Memorial Hermann and a hospital in Houston.

"Treatments had been successful and Mack had been transferred back home on Sept. 9, 2005, with stable cardiovascular function and a platelet count of 285,000," the petition states.

On Sept. 12, Dr. Zaheer found that White's platelet count was severely low and that he was moderately to severely hypertensive.

"Dr. Zaheer and the Emergency Department nurses began therapy with pain pills," the suit says. "No IV line was placed and no hematologist or other specialty consultant was contacted. Dr. Zaheer elected to admit Mack to the Memorial Hermann Baptist Orange Hospital for 'reassurance/education.'"

The suit goes on to say that White was held in the ER for "about nine hours."

"He was attended in the telemetry unit by several members of the nursing staff of the hospital, who did not attempt to contact the attending physician,Dr. Gordon, for several hours," the suit alleges.

"Dr. Gordon, who had accepted Mack into the hospital, then refused admissions and ordered Mr. White returned to the ER for transport to a larger medical center," the suit states. "Dr. Gordon also ordered medication, which the telemetry and ICU nurses failed to give."

The plaintiff's petition says that transfer was "finally accomplished at about 9:40 a.m. by ground ambulance; nearly 14 hours after Mack first sought help."

White arrived at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston around noon on Sept. 3, 2005.

"Despite the best efforts of health care providers at UTMB, Mack Ivory White's condition had advanced to the point where he unavoidably suffered cardiac arrest and died on the afternoon of Sept. 13, 2005," the suit states.

The basis of the suit, the plaintiff claims, is the negligent conduct of the defendants.

The plaintiff further invokes the doctrine of negligence per se and would show the court that the plaintiff belongs to "that class of persons to which applicable city, state and county statutes and/or ordinances which defendants violated were designed to protect."

And as a result of White's death, the plaintiff has sustained severe mental anguish and significant loss of companionship.

"Plaintiff seeks to recover survival damages for the pain and suffering and mental anguish suffered by plaintiff as a result of the negligence and mistreatment alleged in this petition," the suit states. "Plaintiff also sues for the conscious pain and suffering and mental anguish experienced by the plaintiff in the days immediately preceding Mr. White's death; medical expenses and funeral, burial and other death-related expenses."

The plaintiff also seeks to recover wrongful death damages, past and future mental anguish, past and future pecuniary loss including loss of care and loss of inheritance.

Attorney Trent Bond of Reaud, Morgan & Quinn, is representing the plaintiff. Bond is also requesting that the wrongful death suit be consolidated with Case No. B178-321, a negligence suit against the same parties with common issues of law and the same evidence.

The case has been assigned to Judge Gary Sanderson of the 60th District Court.

Case No. B179-788

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