Med-mal trial scheduled to begin Oct. 14

Steve Gonzalez Oct. 9, 2008, 6:20am

A medical malpractice case against Alton Memorial Hospital and Dr. Patrick Masching is scheduled for a jury trial Oct. 14.

The plaintiff, Helen Gray, filed the suit on behalf of her son, Robert Ewing, alleging Masching and the hospital failed to properly diagnose his head injury.

The complaint, filed in January 2006, alleges Ewing was involved in an altercation March 10, 2005, and was treated at the hospital for a large hematoma to his right eye and lacerations to the hairline of his right forehead after being assaulted.

Gray claims her son complained of severe pain.

Gray claims after Masching applied eight staples to the lacerations, Alton Memorial and Masching released her son after less than an hour with discharge instructions for scalp lacerations and contusions.

According to Gray, her minor son spent the night at his girlfriend's home. She discovered him the next morning unconscious and unresponsive.

Gray claims her son was rushed back to the hospital where he underwent a CT scan which showed right acute epidural hematoma and a skull fracture which was below the lacerations that were treated the night before causing Alton Memorial to transfer him to another hospital by helicopter for brain surgery.

Gray claims Alton Memorial failed to perform diagnostic tests that would have shown Ewing's head injury upon his initial admission, failed to discharge him with adequate instructions, failed to timely diagnose his true injuries and failed to admit him to the hospital for observation.

She is represented by James Hopkins of St. Louis.

At trial, Masching will argue Ewing's injuries where caused by third parties not named in the suit, including the person who allegedly assaulted him, according to pleadings filed in the case.

Masching will also argue Ewing failed to follow the medical advice and directions of his doctors.

The doctor will also argue the claims are barred by comparative fault, comparative negligence and contributory negligence, therefore any award of damages should be reduced due to the doctrine of comparative fault and comparative negligence.

Gray will argue her son sustained severe and irreparable brain damage because the epidural hematoma continued to bleed, developed severe left-sided hemiparesis and is confined to a wheelchair.

Masching is represented by Terese Drew of Hinshaw & Culbertson in St. Louis.

Pleadings indicate she will also testify her son has sustained a significant loss of both and short- and long-term memory, is unable to speak clearly, developed severe emotional distress and depression, developed multiple infections and pulmonary problems, sustained great pain and suffering and claims he requires 24-hour skilled care in a rehabilitative environment.

Gray will seek damages in excess of $100,000.

Madison County Circuit Judge Nicholas Byron will preside over the trial.

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