The family of the late Laura Sebile filed suit against Memorial Hermann Baptist Beaumont Hospital in Texas, naming two doctors and an anesthesiologist, in alleging her death was caused by their negligence. Plaintiff Paul Sebile, along with seven of his children, claimed his wife, who was 70-years-old and morbidly obese, died after doctors performed an unnecessary heart surgery.
In January, justices in Beaumont ruled that the plaintiffs' expert report failed to adequately address the hospital's alleged negligence. Even though Baptist came away with a victory, the hospital asked for a rehearing. This time justices also awarded Baptist attorney's fees and dismissed the suit with prejudice.
In the original suit filed in 2008, the plaintiffs attached the expert opinion of Dr. Shabir Bhimji, a cardiothoracic surgeon. In response, Baptist Hospital and Dr. Juan Gonzales, the anesthesiologist named as a defendant, separately objected to the plaintiffs' allegations and expert report, calling the suit's accusations vague and broad and the expert report unspecific.
The original suit alleges that Laura Sebile was discharged on advice and pain pills even though a chest X-ray found evidence suggesting congestive heart failure. Dr. Arfeen Qamar referred Laura Sebile to surgeon Dr. Fallon Gordan, and she was immediately booked for a biopsy of her lymph nodes on Oct. 25, 2006. According to the complaint, neither doctor considered that congestive heart failure may have been the possible reason for Laura Sebile's problems. In addition, Dr. Qamar did not order a cardiology consult before surgery despite Laura Sebile's past open heart surgery, the suit states.
Paul Sebile claims before the biopsy, his wife was placed under anesthesia by Dr. Juan Manuel Gonzalez, who allegedly did not check her medical history. Gordan, who had ordered the anesthesiologist, also failed to perform necessary tests, the suit states.
During the “unnecessary” and “risky” procedure, Gordan punctured Laura Sebile's heart, according to the complaint. A cardiac surgeon was called in to stop the bleeding. Laura Sebile could not eat or talk after the incident, developed multi-organ failure and died 13 days later.
“The plaintiffs’ expert report never articulates how Dr. Gonzales’ alleged negligence caused Mrs. Sebile's death. The report has only one conclusory sentence on causation ... that an unspecified drug ordered by the nurses played some unspecified role,” the hospital's appeals brief states.