Trial over death of 87-year-old hospice patient pushed back

By David Yates | Oct 13, 2011

A new discovery control plan order has been entered in a lawsuit filed over the care of Mary Helen Smith, an 87-year-old hospice patient who allegedly died while "suffering festering ulcers."

As previously reported, on Nov. 16, 2010, Patsy Monson filed a medical malpractice claim against three health care providers in Jefferson County District Court, alleging Smith received no treatment for the ulcers in her final days.

Gulf Healthcare Center-Port Arthur, Southwest Gulf Healthcare and Harbor Hospice of Beaumont are the defendants named in the suit.

Court records show that a plan order was originally entered in the suit on April 26, slating the case for a January 2012 trial.

On Sept. 14 the order was amended to push the trial back to May 2012, allowing more time for discovery.

All three defendants cared for Smith before her death on Dec. 21, 2008. According to the suit, she was suffering from multiple ulcers at the time of her death.

"All of the conditions arose while she was under the care of defendants and caused by the negligence of the employees of defendants," the suit states. "After suffering pain and the festering ulcers for which she received virtually no care, Smith died."

Monson alleges the defendants should have taken measures to prevent and treat the ulcers.

She is suing for general and special damages.

Attorney Michael McGown of the Benchenstein, Norvell and Nathan law firm in Beaumont represents her.

Judge Bob Wortham, 58th District Court, is assigned to the case.

Case No. A188-818

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