Med mal complaint filed against BJC and doctors in St. Louis

Andrea Dearden Feb. 10, 2012, 3:21am

ST. LOUIS - A Brighton man, along with his his wife and daughter, say doctors and nurses caused him have a heart attack while being cared for at a St. Louis hospital.

Paul D. Fenton, Marie Fenton and Vicki Aubuchon filed the complaint in St. Louis Circuit Court against Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Dr. David A. Carpenter, Taha Bali, Kimberly Conway and Dr. Brian G. Cohn.

The 16-count complaint alleges multiple inadequacies in Paul Fenton's care while he was a patient at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in January 2010.

Fenton, his wife and daughter all claim negligence on the part of the hospital, Drs. Carpenter and Cohn, nurse Taha Bali and nursing supervisor Kimberly Conway that they say caused Fenton to suffer severe medical problems, including a heart attack.

Paul Fenton says emergency room physician Dr. Cohn admitted him to Barnes-Jewish Hospital on Jan. 29. Within hours of his admission, he says he suffered hypoventilation which led to hypocarbia, a condition caused by too much carbon dioxide in a person's blood. Left untreated, Fenton says the condition eventually caused him to lose consciousness and go into cardiac arrest in the early morning hours of Jan. 30.

Fenton's wife and daughter say they were in the hospital room with Paul and attempted multiple times to alert medical staff that the 74-year-old was in distress. Aubuchon says she specifically asked for a doctor to respond to her father's room immediately but that allegedly didn't happen.

The family claims the hospital, doctors and nurses failed to recognize the "critically deteriorating condition of the patient in extreme distress."

They say Fenton should have been admitted to the Intensive Care Unit where supervision is typically at its highest level. Instead, they say the patient was not assessed or monitored until he was in cardiac arrest -- hours after the family allegedly asked hospital staff for help. The Fentons and Aubuchon accuse the defendants of failing to use or pay attention to any medical monitors and alarms designed to alert them to a patient's status.

Because of the staff's alleged negligence, Paul Fenton says they failed to diagnose him with Gullian-Barre syndrome in a timely manner. The disorder causes the immune system to attack the nervous system. Fenton says his delayed diagnosis caused worsening symptoms and the need for more aggressive treatment.

The family also claims Fenton developed substantial bedsores while in the care of Barnes-Jewish Hospital. They say doctors and nurses failed to follow the treatment protocol developed by wound care specialists. As a result, Fenton allegedly developed "extensive bedsores that eventually penetrated to the bone."

The Fentons and Auchubon say the hospital and staff failed to make accurate records of his stay at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. They say Paul's medical records do not include several relevant events, including his daughter's repeated warnings about his medical distress and lack of care.

Paul Fenton blames the defendants for what he calls permanent injuries the require hospitalization and ongoing medical care. He says he has lost income and now suffers physical pain. His wife and daughter say Paul's condition has caused them a loss of consortium, companionship, love, affection, support and care. They are asking the hospital, Drs. Carpenter and Cohn, Bali and Conway to each pay an undetermined amount of money in damages along with legal fees.

The law firms of Kasten, Ruyle, Sims & Bellm, and Williams, Caponi, Foley & Eckert are representing the Fentons and Auchubon.

St. Louis Circuit Court Case No. 2012-1222-CC00434

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