Hospital sued after patient who had knee replaced died of heart attack

By Kyle Barnett | Nov 30, 2012

Harry T. Widman

GRETNA – The family of a St. Charles Parish man who died while under the care of a local hospital is suing for damages for wrongful death.

Susan H. Nelson, Ann Nelson McGuire, Paul Nelson, individually, as the legal heirs of and on behalf of the estate of Michael Nelson, filed suit against Jefferson Parish Hospital Service District No. 1, West Jefferson Medical Center. Thomas L. Cashio, M.D., Peter H. Town, M.D. and Jlynn Brown Westley, R.N. in the 24th Judicial District Court on Oct. 16.

The Nelson family claims that due to multiple health issues the 69-year-old Michael Nelson was at high risk for post-operative complications following a total knee replacement procedure partially because some of his medications had been stopped before the procedure.

After the procedure was completed the plaintiffs claim that Nelson's leg was not properly elevated and that two hypotension episodes were not properly documented. After a day of bedrest, Nelson was allegedly instructed to stand and walk and when he did so the sudden movement resulted in two heart attacks - which caused his death, the suit says.

The defendant is accused of failing to make proper risk assessments and taking appropriate precautions, failing to provide introperative and post-operative mechanical preventise assistance to the deceased, failing to educate the patient about the signs and symptoms of the condition that led to his death and allowing the nursing staff to place a pillow under the knee instead of elevating it otherwise.

An unspecified amount in damages is sought for wrongful death.

The plaintiffs are represented by Harry T. Widman of Metairie-based Harry T. Widman & Associates.

The case has been assigned to Division A Judge Raymond S. Steib, Jr.

Case no. 720-157.

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