Madison County Med-Mal case settles before trial

Steve Gonzalez Oct. 14, 2008, 3:12pm

A medical malpractice case against Dr. Patrick Masching and Alton Memorial Hospital settled, averting a trial in Madison County Circuit Court.

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.

Terms of the settlement were not disclosed. Circuit Judge Nicholas Byron signed off on the settlement.

The suit, filed in January 2006, alleged 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 claimed her son complained of severe pain.

Gray claimed 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 claimed her son was rushed back to the hospital where he underwent a CT scan, which showed right acute epidural hematoma and a skull fracture that prompted Alton Memorial to transfer him to another hospital by helicopter for brain surgery.

Gray also claimed 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 was represented by James Hopkins of St. Louis.

Masching denied any wrongdoing and would have argued 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 would have also argued Ewing failed to follow the medical advice and directions of his doctors.

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

Gray was seeking damages in excess of $100,000 arguing 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.

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