Survival action and wrongful death suit brought against medical centers, doctors

By Catherine Melancon | Oct 31, 2012

Leslie A. Cordell

BATON ROUGE – A Baton Rouge woman is suing medical centers and doctors on behalf of her deceased husband and surviving children for allegedly failed to meet the standard of care and failing to properly diagnose her husband in a timely manner, which ultimately may have caused his death.

Ginelle Harman Normand, individually, and on behalf of her deceased husband, Craig Normand, and their children filed suit against Baton Rouge Medical General Medical Center, Dr. Rodney W. Tregle, Jr., Lane Regional Medical Center and Dr. Keith Schwagerin in the 19th Judicial Court on Oct. 16.

The plaintiff claims her husband was under the care of Dr. Keith Schwager who was employed by Baton Rouge General Medical Center on Sept. 10, 2009. Craig was also under the care of Dr. Rodney Tregle an employee of Lane Regional Medical Center from at least Sept. 11-14, 2009, the suit claims.

The plaintiff claims Schwager failed to recognize a developing epidural spinal abscess and that he violated the rule of three when he did not refer the plaintiff for a neurological consult or admit him for further workup.

On Sept. 9, Craig visited the Lane Regional Medical Center emergency room twice, complaining of excruciating neck and back pain. He returned again the next day, and the plaintiff claims he should have been admitted for further testing, such as a magnetic resonance imaging, and recommended for a consult to an appropriate specialist.

The plaintiff asserts Craig became a quadriplegic, but that could have been prevented had the staff at Lane Regional Medical Center diagnosed him sooner.

The plaintiff's husband allegedly made four trips to Lane Regional Medical Center and one trip to Baton Rouge General. On the sixth trip to a hospital, he was admitted and consulted with a specialist.

On Sept. 14, 2009, Normand states that Dr. Juan Medina at Lane Regional Medical Center finally admitted him and called for a neurological consult.

Normand claims that as a result of the missed diagnosis, Craig was a ventilator-dependent quadriplegic and died on Feb. 5.

The defendants are accused of failing to properly obtain and record an adequate medical history, failing to obtain and review relevant medical records, failing to evaluate Craig's complaints, signs and symptoms, failing to treat Craig's condition, failing to timely rule out life-threatening causes for Craig's complaints, failing to properly perform necessary diagnostic testing and examination, failing to require consultation with other practitioners or specialists and improperly discharging Craig without admitting him or arranging adequate follow-up treatment.

According to the plaintiff, a medical review panel rendered its decision that Tregle failed to meet the applicable standard of care and caused damages to Craig Normand.

An unspecified amount in damages is sought for survival action on behalf of Craig for his pain, suffering, distress, anguish, fear, injury and death he sustained, mental anguish, distress, fear and loss of consortium on behalf of his survivors, wrongful death of Craig, funeral expenses and medical expenses.

The plaintiff is represented by Leslie A. Cordell of Orrill, Cordell and Beary, LLC in New Orleans.

The case has been assigned to Division M Judge Kay Bates.

Case no. 616247.

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