Suit alleges hospital administered drug despite patient's allergy

By Kelly Holleran | Mar 2, 2009

A Jasper County couple has filed suit against Christus Hospital St. Elizabeth, alleging the man was administered morphine after he told doctors he was allergic to the pain medication.

Burl Corkran was admitted to the hospital on Feb. 26, 2007, and experienced a severe allergic reaction after doctors injected him with morphine, according to the complaint filed Feb. 23 in Jefferson County District Court.

"Plaintiff, Burl Corkran advised medical personnel of his allergy to the drug morphine," the suit states. "The condition was clearly noted in his medical chart."

Because the doctors administered the morphine, Corkran claims he incurred medical expenses and experienced physical pain, mental anguish, physical impairment and physical disfigurement.

His wife, Erin Corkran, also a plaintiff, experienced a loss of her husband's society and household services and experienced mental anguish, according to the complaint.

The Corkrans are asking the court to declare a $250,000 cap for their pain, mental anguish, impairment and disfigurement damages unconstitutional.

"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, including, inter alia, the 'Open Courts Doctirne,' the Equal Protection Clauses, and the rights to due process," the suit states.

They are also seeking a judgment in excess of Jefferson County District Court's minimum jurisdictional requirements and unspecified punitive and exemplary damages, plus pre- and post-judgment interest, costs, and other relief to which they may be entitled.

They are represented by Paul F. Fergusen Jr. of Provost Umphrey Law Firm in Beaumont.

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

Case No. E183-364

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