May 2014 trial slated in suit alleging doctor failed to save woman’s life

By David Yates | Oct 10, 2013

A May 2014 trial has been slated in a suit alleging a woman died because the doctor failed to place her on a medication that could have saved her life. 

According to the complaint filed Feb. 6 in Jefferson County District Court, Beverly Parr claims her mother, Claudine Burton, had been placed on Coumadin, a blood thinner that helps prevent blood clots, but defendant Dr. James T. Shepherd failed to properly monitor her treatment.

On Oct. 7 an agreed docket control order was entered, court records show.

The order calls for discovery to end on March 24 and for the case to be placed on the court’s May 2014 trial docket.

The suit says Burton was prescribed Coumadin after she had suffered a minor stroke in December 2009. Burton had fully recovered from the stroke and had been seeing Dr. Shepherd, who had originally prescribed the Coumadin for her.

On Jan. 23, 2011, Burton attempted to refill her prescription, but was told by a Walgreens pharmacist that her prescription had expired and could not be refilled, the complaint says.

When Burton visited Dr. Shepherd on March 1, 2011, he discovered through lab work that she had no Coumadin in her system and had not been taking the medication because of the expired prescription. Still, Dr. Shepherd failed to call in a prescription or to contact Burton to order her to begin taking the medication, according to the complaint.

Two weeks later, on March 16, 2011, Burton went to the hospital with a paralyzed left side and dysphagia, the suit states. A brain scan revealed that Burton had suffered from a catastrophic stroke, the complaint says.

The suit says that because of complications associated with the stroke, Burton was transferred to a nursing home where she died seven months later on Sept. 7, 2011.

“Although she had enjoyed a long life, there is no question that suffering a massive stroke prematurely resulted in her death,” the suit states. “Had she continued to have her Coumadin levels regularly monitored, there is no question she could have lived a number of years past her 85th birthday.”

Due to her mother’s death, Parr has lost her care, maintenance, support, services, advice, counsel and contributions, the complaint says. She has also suffered depression, anguish, grief and sorrow, according to the complaint.

Parr seeks a judgment within the jurisdictional limits of the court, plus pre- and post-judgment interest, costs, exemplary damages and other relief the court deems just.

Collin Cobb of Harris, Duesler and Hatfield in Beaumont and Barry C. Bennett of Bennett Legal in Beaumont represent her.

The case is assigned to Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th District Court.

Case No. D193-898

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