Patient with brain tumor did not regain consciousness after surgery, suit claims

Andrea Dearden Nov. 9, 2010, 1:50am

Four Belleville medical practices have been named in a wrongful death suit.

The lawsuit filed Oct. 27 in St. Clair County Circuit Court accuses Memorial Hospital of Belleville, Neurological Surgery Center of Belleville, Dr. William W. Sprich and Dr. Robert E. Schultz Sr. of causing LaMonte Morris' death.

Morris' wife, Susan Hardin, filed the suit on behalf of her husband's estate. She says Morris was admitted to Memorial Hospital on Oct. 16, 2008 to be treated for a brain tumor and hydrocephalus. Four days later, the tumor was to be surgically removed by Dr. Sprich and Dr. Schultz.

According to the complaint, the neurosurgeons were unable to remove the entire tumor, so the patient allegedly developed bleeding at the surgical site. Hardin says Morris never regained consciousness after surgery and died on Oct. 28.

Memorial Hospital, the Neurological Center and the two surgeons are accused of negligence for failing to talk to Morris about the likely outcome of the procedure and get his informed consent for treatment. Hardin says they also failed to relieve the hydrocephalus or properly treat the swelling in Morris' brain.

Hardin says, as a result of this alleged negligence, she and the couple's son have been deprived of Morris' companionship, guidance, love and affection. She says they've also had to pay a large amount of money in medical expenses and funeral costs.

Hardin is asking for damages of more than $50,000 from each of the four defendants.

Steven F. Meyerkord of Meyerkord, Rineberg & Graham in St. Louis is representing Hardin.

St. Clair County Circuit Court Case No. 10-L-1084

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