Med mal trial ends with verdict in favor of Greenville Hospital

Steve Gonzalez Apr. 21, 2005, 1:00pm

A three-day medical malpractice trial ended with a verdict in favor of Greenville Hospital Thursday in Madison County.

Marie Peppers filed a wrongful death suit against the hospital, Timothy Penn M.D. and Trisha Gifford, M.D. on Oct 30, 2003, claiming the defendants failed to diagnose her husband, Frank Peppers', pulmonary embolism.

The jury took just two hours and five minutes to deliberate.

According to court documents, Gifford settled out-of-court for $650,000 and was dismissed from the case on Oct. 15, 2004. During the trial Penn was dismissed from the case by Peppers' attorney, Mark Levy.

Days before the trial began, Greenville Hospital attorney Edward Bott filed a motion to continue the trial to appeal Circuit Judge Nicholas Byron's order denying transfer of venue to Bond County.

In his motion, Bott wrote, "It became apparent through sworn testimony of plaintiff’s physician liability expert that venue was being fraudulently maintained in Madison County by joinder of Dr. Penn.”

"The interests of justice are not served by proceeding to trial in Madison County on this case which has no connection to Madison County," Bott stated.

Levy said that waiting almost two years until the eve of trial to file a transfer motion would cause his client great prejudice.

Peppers claimed the doctors ignored her husband's complaints of suggestive pulmonary embolism, failed to test for and treat pulmonary embolism.

She had further alleged that Greenville Hospital failed to schedule Peppers to see Arnold Tepper, M.D. for a pulmonary consultation prior to his discharge, even though Gifford ordered the visit.

Peppers claimed that on Dec. 24, 2001, Penn examined and treated her husband at his Glen Carbon office as follow up to a rotator cuff surgery. Four days earlier, Gifford treated Frank Peppers as an inpatient at Greenville for complaints of “dyspnea, and diaphoresis, one week post operative.”

During his visits to the doctors, the suit claims Frank Peppers presented them with signs and symptoms of a pulmonary embolism including a recent surgery, dysnea, and an obstructive lung defect.

In her suit, Peppers claimed she suffered permanent losses of love, affection, companionship, and services of her husband, and further lost the support of her husband.

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