Trial to resume with defense experts Tuesday in wrongful death trial

Amelia Flood Apr. 27, 2009, 9:00am

The trial of a 2004 wrongful death suit will resume Tuesday in Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder's court room with defense expert testimony.

Lawyers from both sides spent Monday conferencing with Crowder over jury instructions.

Plaintiff Russell Darbon is suing Dr. Jose A. Diaz Jr., a surgeon at St. Joseph's Hospital in Highland on behalf of his deceased ex-wife, Virginia Gettys. The suit contends that Diaz did not properly treat Gettys in 2004 when she was admitted to the Highland hospital complaining of abdominal pain.

Gettys eventually developed sepsis, a dangerous infection and was transferred to St. Luke's Hospital in Chesterfield, Mo. Gettys died at St. Luke's from the sepsis, which an autopsy revealed stemmed from a rare kidney disease.

Darbon's suit argues that Diaz caused Gettys' death by failing to read a urine test properly, ignoring symptoms, performing unnecessary surgery and delaying her transfer to a hospital with an infectious disease specialist.

The plaintiff is asking for at least $50,000 in damages, plus costs.

Plaintiff experts sparred with defense attorney Timothy Richards in person and via DVD last week as they argued about how Gettys should have been treated.

Crowder had informed the jury Friday that she hoped the trial would be wrapped up by the middle of this week.

The case is Madison case 04-L1427.

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