Appeals court denies rehearing in 'Baby Olivia' wrongful death case

By Gabriel Neves | Mar 12, 2019

BEAUMONT – The Texas Ninth District Court of Appeals recently denied a motion for a rehearing in the case involving "Baby Olivia," whose parents sued Medical Center of Southeast Texas for wrongful death.

In a 54-page opinion issued Feb. 28, Justice LeAnn Johnson affirmed the Jefferson County 60th District Court decision and denied the medical center's request for rehearing in the lawsuit filed by Rachel Melancon.

The court also modified its earlier opinion in which the court awarded $250,000 in damages to Melancon, plus costs and interest.

The same opinion included a partial reporter’s record, per request of the hospital. Three issues that were raised by the medical center were overruled by the court, which include the qualifications of the experts heard as testimonies.

In the opinion, Johnson stated that "we find no error" on the issues.

The suit was brought by Olivia's father, Trent Coats, against the physician who delivered the baby, Dr. George Backardjiev on Aug. 6, 2014, a posting in the SE Texas Record said.

As stated in the report, "Melancon was admitted for delivery on Dec. 26, 2013. Baby Olivia was born two days later. During the delivery, Backardjiev repeatedly kept applying forceps, refusing to consent to a caesarean delivery until after his fourth attempt failed."

“After birth, it was determined that Baby Olivia suffered intracranial ischemic injuries,” the suit said. “She was transferred to Houston to Memorial Hermann Children’s Hospital.”

X-ray images revealed a partial skull fracture and other severe injuries. Olivia died Jan. 1, 2014 after being taken off life support.

The suit further accused Backardjiev of using Pitocin during labor despite Olivia having an abnormal fetal heart rate.

Texas Ninth District Court of Appeals Case number 09-16-00449-CV

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