Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center doctor sued; Plaintiff challenges cap on damages

By Catherine Melancon | Dec 3, 2012

BATON ROUGE – A Tangipahoa Parish couple is filing a medical malpractice suit against a Baton Rouge general surgeon after he allegedly breached the standard of care.

David and Judy Smith filed suit against Edward Chiasson, M.D. in the 19th Judicial Court on Nov. 20.

On June 27, 2010, David Smith claims he fell 30 feet to the ground while trimming tree branches.

Initially evaluated at Hood Memorial Hospital in Amite, and then transferred to Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, where Chiasson treated him.

The plaintiff was complaining of right hip pain, left rib pain and numbness in his left foot.

Chiasson administered chest x-rays, which revealed a seventh rib fracture. The plaintiff also received films of the pelvis and lower extremities. These tests concluded Smith suffered a left heel fracture, a right tibia fracture and a right kneecap fracture.

Further tests by Dr. Victor Tran confirmed a blood clot in the back of the knee and a surgery to remove the blood clot and stenting were performed.

Dr. Darryl Peterson treated Smith for his orthopedic injuries, the suit states.

On July 4, 2010, Smith had an open treatment to repair his kneecap fracture. On the same day, Dr. Meredith Warner performed surgery of the left heel fracture.

Smith asserts the whole time he was hospitalized at Our Lady of the Lake and Hood Memorial Hospital, he complained of bruising on his right side of his back. He claims he even had a nurse at Our Lady of the Lake take photographs of the bruises for him.

Smith was discharged on July 6, 2010, with diagnoses of right tibia plateau fracture, right tibia fracture and left heel fracture.

A few months later, Smith followed up with Warner, and alerted her of his bruised back. She ordered an MRI on Aug. 11, 2010 and it showed a mild compression fracture the supervisor endplate of one of his vertebra with 10 to 20 percent loss of anterior vertebral body height.

There was also a 30 to 40 percent burst fracture of one of his vertebrae with fragmentation.

He claims he was later diagnosed with lumbar disc syndrome and had a lumbar fusion on Sept. 16, 2010 at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Medical Center of Louisiana in New Orleans.

The defendant is accused of failing to timely recognize the severity of Smith's condition, failing to properly diagnose and treat the plaintiff, failing to properly assess plaintiff, failing to order appropriate testing of the patient, failing to provide medical care consistent with the appropriate standards and deviating from the acceptable standard of care.

The plaintiffs submitted their case to a Medical Review Panel on Aug. 13. Two of the three panel members stated Chiasson deviated from the standard of care and the spine should been evaluated radiographically by Chiasson.

David Smith is seeking damages for mental anguish and pain, physical pain and suffering, medical expenses, disability and loss of income.

Judy Smith is seeking damages for loss of consortium due to her husband's injuries.

The plaintiffs are also challenging the constitutionality of the cap for healthcare providers, limiting their liability.

They claim the cap is unconstitutional and invalid and call on Attorney General James D. "Buddy" Caldwell for his services.

The plaintiffs are represented by attorney Richard L. Fewell Jr. of West Monroe.

The case has been assigned to Division F Judge Timothy Kelley.

Case no. 616989.

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