Doc cleared of negligence in suit over missing heart monitor

By David Yates | Oct 18, 2011

After multiple appeals over medical reports, a local doctor has been cleared of any negligence in a medical malpractice lawsuit filed over the death of Dorothy Broussard.

As previously reported, on June 25, 2007, Preston Broussard, on behalf of his late wife, sued Christus Hospital St. Mary, Dubuis Hospital and Dr. Sreedhar Polavarapu.

Jury selection in the case began Oct. 3 in Judge Donald Floyd's 172nd District Court and the trial ended a week later on Oct. 11.

According to the charge of the court, jurors were asked if the alleged negligence of Dr. Polavarapu caused the occurrence in question.

Jurors assigned no negligence to him and declined to award the plaintiff any damages.

The original petition alleges that on April 9, 2005, the breathing tube connected to Dorothy Broussard was inadvertently removed.

"The hospital staff was not aware of the event because Mrs. Broussard's 'finger light' (heart monitor) had been removed earlier that day," the petition states. "Due to the lack of oxygen over an extended period of time (because the 'finger light' was removed, no one at the hospital was aware of the patient's plight), Mrs. Broussard fell into a coma, and passed away on July 12, 2005."

Allegedly, the "defendants' failure to safely monitor and restrain Dorothy Broussard led to the deprivation of oxygen that caused Mrs. Broussard's untimely demise," the suit states.

"Plaintiff Cody Broussard, the 10-year-old son of Mrs. Broussard, ran ahead of his father into his mother's hospital room. Cody Broussard was the first person to find the oxygen tube hanging on the side of his mother's hospital bed, and found his mother gagging for air," the lawsuit states.

"Mrs. Broussard had stopped breathing, and according to Cody and his father Preston, Mrs. Broussard's skin color had turned 'purple.'"

Preston Broussard is represented by John C. Osborne PLLC of Houston.

Attorney James Edwards represents Dr. Polavarapu.

Case No. E179-564

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