Suit claims hospital failed to treat infant in timely manner

By Kelly Holleran | Dec 2, 2008

Two Hardin County residents have filed suit against Memorial Hermann Baptist Hospital and a doctor, alleging their infant son was not treated in a timely or appropriate manner when they brought him to the hospital.

Kenneth Brimer and Ashley King claim they brought their son, Alan, to Beaumont's Memorial Hermann Baptist Hospital emergency room on March 18, 2007, because of his shortness of breath and listlessness, according to the complaint filed Nov. 19 in Jefferson County District Court.

However, Alan was not placed in a treatment room until one hour after their arrival, the suit states.

When he was seen, Alan showed signs of poor tissue perfusion and a blood sugar level of 14, which is indicative of life-threatening hypoglycemia, Brimer and King claim.

At 1:35 p.m., doctors placed an intravenous catheter into Alan, but it is unclear whether glucose was administered until at least 2:10 p.m., when he had a blood sugar value of 133, according to the complaint.

Signs of sepsis appeared at 3:22 p.m. when the emergency room physician was notified of a CO2 value of 10 and a potassium value of 7.9, the suit states.

However, Alan received no treatment at the time of the findings, Brimer and King claim.

Alan was transferred to Texas Children's Hospital in Houston at 9:16 p.m. and was diagnosed with pneumonia and sepsis, according to the complaint.

Because of the treatment he received, Alan suffered serious personal injuries, disfigurement, mental anguish, physical pain and suffering, impairment, disability and medical expenses, the suit states.

The plaintiffs allege Memorial Hermann and Dr. Victor Shen-Pou Ho were negligent because they failed to immediately evaluate Alan's condition, failed to immediately diagnose and treat hypoglycemia and failed to timely initiate antibiotics.

Brimer and King claim both also negligently failed to timely respond to laboratory abnormalities, failed to timely perform a tracheal intubation and administration of positive pressure ventilation to preclude ongoing hypoxia and ischemia, delayed initiating evaluation and treatment of one hour after Alan was brought to the hospital and delayed initiating antibiotic therapy.

Because recent tort reform has capped Brimer's and Kings's pain, mental anguish, impairment and disfigurement damages, they are not allowed to seek damages of more than $250,000 per defendant, according to the complaint.

"Plaintiff submits that this arbitrary cap is a denial of due process to the Plaintiff and a violation of the United States and Texas Constitutions … and the rights to due process," the suit states.

Brimer and King are seeking a judgment within the jurisdictional limits of the court, costs, prejudgment and post-judgment interest and other relief the court deems just.

They are also seeking that arbitrary caps be declared unconstitutional.

The case has been assigned to District Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th District Court.

Case No. D182-742

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