GRETNA – The family of a woman who died while seeking treatment for a work related injury is suing after finding out one of her care providers was a doctor who had failed his medical examination boards.

Carlos Espinal, Lester Espinal and Allison Espinal, individually and on behalf of the estate of Patricia Espinal, filed suit against Peter A. Zimmerman M.D., Slidell Medical Rehab LLC, Advanced Medical Cares & Wellness Center, their insurer and the Louisiana Patient’s Compensation Fund in the 24th Judicial District Court on Jan. 14.

The Espinals allege their mother Patricia Espinal was injured in an on the job accident on April 24, 2010 and thereafter received medical treatment for her injuries, including periodic spinal injections. The plaintiffs contend their mother sought treatment at Slidell Medical Rehab by Zimmerman who gave her multiple spinal injections from November 2011 through February 2012, despite having failed his subspecialty tests and not being board certified or eligible for certification.

Furthermore, the Espinals assert their mother only spoke Spanish and that Zimmerman gave her pre-operative instructions in English. After an injection by Zimmerman given on Feb. 17, 2012, Patricia Espinal allegedly began to experience severe side effects, including not being able to breathe, and while Zimmerman attempted to clear her mouth with his finger and supply oxygen to her through a bag while an ambulance was called she suffered from oxygen deprivation. The plaintiffs claim Zimmerman did not possess the proper equipment to save their mother's life in his office and as a result she was placed on life support after the incident from which she was eventually removed, after being pronounced brain dead, and subsequently died on March 7, 2012.

The defendant is accused of failing to take into account the safety of others, failing to use proper procedures, failing to use proper equipment, failing to properly supervise the work performed by employees, failing to properly assess the plaintiff, failing to take adequate measures to ensure the patient’s safety and failing to ensure the well being of Espinal.

An unspecified amount in damages is sought for survival damages, wrongful death, physical pain and suffering, discomfort, disability, physical pain and suffering, discomfort, mental anguish, aggravation, annoyance, medical expenses, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of use and function of parts of the body, bodily disability, impairment of psychological functioning, disability and destruction of earning capacity.

The plaintiffs are represented by Robert B. Evans III of New Orleans-based Burgos & Evans LLC.

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

Case no. 745-803.

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