Ochsner sued for wrongful death after allegedly refusing medical treatment

By Kyle Barnett | Jan 7, 2013

GRETNA – The family of a deceased man is suing a local hospital for allegedly not providing surgery necessary to keep him alive despite his inability to pay for it.

Connie Stephens, individually and on behalf of her deceased husband Barry Stephens, and biological children Lakeisha Taylor, Dominique Taylor, Terrence Taylor and Jaris Kingsby, filed suit against Ochsner Medical Center in the 24th Judicial District Court on Nov. 7. The plaintiffs claim that after Barry Stephens entered a Willis Knighton Pierremont Health Center in Shreveport for a heart attack he underwent a procedure to unblock one of his arteries before he was transported to Ochsner Clinic where they determined that he would need a heart transplant and that in the meantime a device could be implanted that would maintain stability of his heart. During this period, Barry Stephens' health was said to be deteriorating quickly and that the device implant was desperately needed. Although Ochsner representatives are alleged to have maintained the device would be implanted and it had already been cleared by Medicaid, payment was declined for the device after Stephens had already been transported to the hospital where the procedure was to be performed. The plaintiffs assert that Stephens suffered severe cardiac damage during his wait for the implant and later died without receiving the implant.

The defendant is accused of wrongful death, wrongfully transporting him from the initial care center and not providing necessary emergency treatment and intentionally refusing care based solely on lack of payment although treatment was available.

An unspecified amount in damages is sought for mental and emotional anguish, pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages and support, wrongful death, loss of chance of survival, foreseeability of harm, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of household services, loss of companionship, loss of economic activities and loss of kidney function.

The plaintiffs are represented by attorney Susan E. Hamm of Shreveport.

The case has been assigned to Division E Judge John J. Molaison, Jr.

Case no. 720-862.

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