Medical malpractice trial continued for second time in five months

By Alejandro de los Rios | Jul 29, 2010


A medical malpractice jury trial involving the Louisiana State University Hospital has been continued for the second time in five months in Orleans Parish Civil District Court.

Colletta Miller and her son, Steven Miller, are suing the Lifecare Hospital and several doctors on behalf of Morvan Miller, who died as a result of complications after back surgery in 2003.

Metairie attorney Edward Gothrad filed the original petition for damages in 2004, which was consolidated with a petition for discovery in 2007, after Morvan Miller allegedly died from pulmonary complications as a result of being placed under anesthesia for back and leg surgery and then under a respirator.

On July 29, Gothrad filed an unopposed motion to continue the jury trial set to start Aug. 2. A previous trial date of March 3 was continued because defense attorneys had other trials scheduled for the same date.

Orleans Parish Judge Sidney Cates IV is overseeing the case.

John Thiele, M.D., Thomas Whitecloud, M.D. and Jeffery Fine, M.D. are named defendants in the suit. The University Health System, Charles Fox III, M.D. and Geraldine Menard, M.D. were originally named as defendants but were dismissed with prejudice on summary judgment in June 2008.

A medical review board oversaw this case when the Millers submitted a medical malpractice claim in 2004 and found that all the doctors complied with all prevailing standards of care.

Morvan Miller had a history of smoking – two packs a day for 50 years since he was 14, according to plaintiff documents – and liver problems due to alcohol consumption. He passed all pre-operation screenings and signed two consent forms before surgery, but the plaintiffs allege that his doctors were negligent in allowing him to undergo such a risky procedure with his health history.

Metairie attorney Jaqueline Blankenship is representing Dr. Thiele.

New Orleans attorney Nathalie Simon is representing Lifecare Hospital.

New Orleans attorney Karen Fontana is representing Dr. Whitecloud.

Metairie attorney Paul Batica is representing Dr. Fine.

Orleans Parish Case 2004-10227

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