Feds sue to recover pro-rata share in medical negligence case

Steve Gonzalez Mar. 5, 2007, 1:30pm

St. Louis University Hospital

Acting U.S. Attorney Randy Massey filed suit against St. Louis University Hospital (SLU) in U.S. District Court Feb. 26 to recover a pro-rata share in a medical malpractice case.

According to the complaint, Ronald Arpin died on Oct. 8, 2001, and his surviving spouse, Jeanine Arpin, brought an action pursuant to the provisions of the Illinois Wrongful Death statute and the Illinois Survival Act statute against the federal government and St. Louis University.

On Nov. 16, 2006, a judgment in the amount of $8,265,009.27 was entered against the U.S. and SLU. The case is presently on appeal before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

Massey claims Asra Kahn, M.D. worked as a resident in the SLU Family Practice Clinic in Belleville when she assumed the care of Ronald Arpin.

"The United States denied and continues to deny liability to plaintiffs," the complaint states. "Alternatively and hypothetically, if the judgment of the District Court stands in full or in part on appeal, the United States is entitled to contribution from defendant St. Louis University."

Massey claims SLU and Kahn were guilty of one or more of the following negligent acts:

  • carelessly failed to properly supervise Dr. Kahn's care of decedent;
  • carelessly failed to diagnose a retroperitoneal abscess, with extension into the epidural space;
  • carelessly failed to obtain an appropriate consultation to permit diagnosis of said condition;
  • carelessly failed to render appropriate care for the condition, in a timely fashion; and
  • carelessly failed to take appropriate steps to accomplish timely evacuation of the abscess.

    Massey claims the alleged negligence caused Ronald Arpin to suffer personal injury and death.

    He is seeking a contribution from SLU for the pro-rata share of the fault attributable to St. Louis University, and for such other relief as the Court deems just and proper.

    Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Hipkiss will also assist Massey.

    The case has been assigned to District Judge David Herndon.

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