Medical Negligence

St. Louis City

Client Family v. HealthLine Management, Dr. Rodolfo Guillen, Lincoln County Memorial Hospital

Type of Claim: Medical malpractice, failure to maintain airway in E.R., wrongful death; plaintiffs are the surviving mother, husband, and four children of decedent who was about 55 years old at the time of her death. The children were 15, 16, 28, and 30 years old when she died. Defendant was estranged from his wife and their divorce was pending when this incident occured. Plaintiffs claimed decedent went to defendant hospital with symptoms of a swollen throat caused by a drug reaction.

Plaintiffs alleged defendant Dr. Guillen failed to timely restore an adequate airway and the respiratory arrest caused brain death and eventual death. Plaintiffs disputed that the decedent had been given oxygen in her lungs during the arrest episode and contended that the EKG and blood gas tests demonstrated that no oxygen entered the lungs through the airway.

Defendant Guillen denied negligence and contended an ICU doctor mismanaged the ventilator and failed to monitor her condition. Defendant claimed decedent’s airway was not completely swollen shut, she was bagged forcing air into her lungs during the arrest episode.

Injuries Alleged: wrongful death, loss of services; medical specials: about $75,000 including funeral expenses; wage loss: none.

Defendant’s Expert: Dr. David Dabell, Emergency Room Medicine, Chief of ER at St. John’s Hospital, expert from St. Louis, MO, by video deposition; Dr. Ed Morgan, Emergency Room Medicine, expert from St. Louis, live.

Last Offer: $100,000 before trial; withdrawn before trial

Verdict: Returned July 31, 1996 for plantiff $500,000 with apportionment of fault 75% to dfendant Guillen, 25% to defendant Lincoln County Memorial Hospital.