Family claims filthy hospital room led to man's infection, death

By John Suayan, Galveston Bureau | Aug 16, 2010

GALVESTON � The family of a Galveston County man who died from an intestinal disorder two years ago has filed suit against Clear Lake Regional Medical Center, Clear Lake Clinic, and Dr. Brian Aquino.

In a lawsuit filed Aug. 3 in Galveston County District Court, the estate of Reams Brown Jr. alleges the 53 year old contracted clostridium difficile in May 2008 as he recovered from surgery.

Brown was admitted into Clear Lake Regional Medical Center for a tonsillectomy and repair to the palate, pharanx, uvula and nasal septum.

Afterwards, the hospital placed him in the post-anesthesia care unit where he waited for an available room. The move to a room was delayed because there were no surgical rooms on the floor so Brown was assigned to a shared room in the geriatric unit.

His relatives claim that the room was unsanitary and had only one bathroom.

"There were signs of blood on the floor and a very strong offensive odor in the room," the original petition says.

A younger man who reportedly suffered symptoms connected to a infectious diarrhea and nausea was then transferred from the emergency room to Brown's room.

The plaintiffs believe that either the patient or the room's unclean state may have passed the clostridium difficile on to Brown, who was then treated by defendant Dr. Aquino at Clear Lake Clinic.

Brown later showed advanced symptoms, however according to the suit, Aquino failed to examine him. The plaintiffs also allege the physician prescribed an antibiotic which only inflamed the infection.

Brown was admitted to Mainland Medical Center in Texas City in early June 2008. He was listed in serious condition and confined to the hospital's intensive care unit where he died on June 7, 2008.

Tests for clostridium difficile were positive, the suit says.

Consequently, the plaintiffs seek unspecified monetary damages and a jury trial.

Attorney Harvill E. Weller of Kemah is representing Reams Brown, Jr.'s estate, and Galveston County 10th District Court Judge David Garner is presiding over the case.

Case No. 10-cv-2190

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