Although appellate justices saw fit to dismiss Memorial Hermann Baptist Beaumont Hospital from a medical-malpractice case late last year, a doctor also named in the suit did not fare as well.

As the Southeast Texas Record previously reported, Memorial Hermann had its appeal granted on Dec. 14 by justices seated on the Ninth District Court of Appeals of Texas.

In October 2008, the family of the late Laura Sebile filed suit against Baptist Hospital, two doctors and an anesthesiologist, alleging her death was caused by their negligence.

Plaintiff Paul Sebile, along with seven of his children, claimed his wife -- who was 70 years old and morbidly obese -- died on Nov. 8, 2006, after doctors performed an "unnecessary heart surgery."

To substantiate their claims, the plaintiffs attached the expert opinion of Dr. Shabir Bhimji, a cardiothoracic surgeon.

Under Texas law, plaintiffs are required to submit a medical expert report when filing a medical malpractice claim.

Each of the health care defendants separately objected to the plaintiffs' allegations and expert report, calling the suit's accusations vague and broad and the expert report unspecific.

On Dec. 18, 2009, Judge Gary Sanderson of the 60th District Court denied defendant Fallon Gordon's objection to plaintiff's expert report and motion to dismiss.

Gordon had filed his "Supplemental Objections to the Sufficiency of Plaintiff's Expert Report and Motion to Dismiss" a few days earlier on Dec. 16, 2009, court papers say.

Gordon's supplemental objections argued that Dr. Bhimji's report fails to adequately link his alleged breaches of the standard of care to Laura's injuries.

In response, the Sebiles filed a response, arguing that Gordon's supplemental objections were untimely, and that Dr. Bhimji's report adequately addresses the issue of causation.

Judge Sanderson, without explanation, denied Gordon's motion to dismiss. Gordon did not request findings of fact or conclusions of law.

On April 22 Ninth Court justices affirmed the judge's ruling.

"Because Gordon's supplemental objections ... were not timely, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in overruling the supplemental objections, nor did it abuse its discretion in denying Gordon's motion to dismiss," Justice Hollis Horton writes in the court's opinion. "The trial court's order of December 18, 2009, is affirmed."

On appeal, Gordon argued that he is relieved of filing objections to Dr. Bhimji's third amended report because it was filed outside the 120-day period allowed for claimants to file their expert reports.

Court papers show that Laura was discharged even though a chest X-ray found evidence suggesting congestive heart failure.

Dr. Arfeen Qamar referred Laura Sebile to surgeon Dr. Fallon Gordon, and she was immediately booked for a biopsy of her lymph nodes on Oct. 25, 2006.

Neither doctor considered that congestive heart failure may have been the possible reason for Laura Sebile's problems, court papers show.

Gordon, who had ordered the anesthesiologist, also failed to perform necessary tests, the suit states.

During the "unnecessary" and "risky" procedure, Gordon punctured Laura's heart.

Laura could not eat or talk after the incident, developed multi-organ failure and died 13 days later on Nov. 8, 2006, according to the complaint.

The Sebile family is represented by Jane S. Leger of Provost Umphrey Law Firm in Beaumont.

Gordon is represented in part by attorneys Barbara A. Hilburn and Divya Reddy Chundru.

Trial case No. B182-575
Appeal case No. 09-10-00007-CV

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