Oliver Anderson Hospital
As trial attorney Rex Carr--the most experienced in the metro area--explained the circumstances of David Askew's death at Anderson Hospital nearly three years ago to Madison County jurors, he wept.
During opening arguments in the year's first medical malpractice trial on Tuesdsay, Carr, 79, told a jury of six men and six women that the patient was not "salvageable" by the time a qualified physician took over his care for treatment of dehydration, vomiting and diarrhea on March 13, 2003.
Tears welled in the corners of Carr's eyes while he told the jury what happened in the final hours of David Askew's life on March 15, 2003. His voice cracked.
He also told jurors that when the trial is over, he intends to ask them to return a verdict against the doctors and hospital for $10 million.
Dana Lynn Askew filed suit against Anderson Hospital, Raghu Kanumuri, M.D., Jacob Marshall, M.D. and Michael Rallo, M.D. on Oct. 10, 2003, alleging the defendants were negligent in treating her husband.
Carr claims that when a nephrologist took over Askew's care 20 hours after he was admitted, the specialist immediately began pushing fluids at 10 times the rate that other doctors had previously ordered, and started Askew on six antibiotics.
"But it was too late, David was not salvageable," Carr told the jury.
He then told them that if the three other doctors, Kanumuri, Marshall and Rallo, would have chosen this course of treatment as clearly stated in emergency room manuals, Askew would have most likely recovered.
Carr told the jury that all three doctors were not board certified in emergency medicine; they were certified in family practice.
Carr told the jury that David, at age 35, ran his own business and was earning around $60,000 a year at the time of his death.
The trial is expected to last three to four weeks.
Each doctor, represented individually, told the jury that they did not believe that Carr would be able to meet the burden of proof in the case. They all stated that the doctors did not deviate from the standards of care.
Circuit Judge Nicholas Byron is presiding over the trial.
This is Byron's first trial since the Illinois Supreme Court reversed his decision in the Philip Morris case.
Carr claims it took Dr. Marshall 34 minutes to come in and check on David once situated in the ER. Askew was admitted at 4:07 a.m.
Marshall ran several blood tests and ordered a urine test. Carr claims at 5:34 a.m. some of results came in and showed that his white blood count was at 21,000 which is nearly double a normal level.
Dr. Marshall's shift ended at 6:30 a.m. and Dr. Kanumuri then took over the care of David after having a conference with Marshall.
Carr said the only treatment Marshall provided David was a medication to help with the nausea.
Carr then said that Dr. Kanumuri noticing that the urine test was not yet completed placed a catheter in Askew to remove the urine manually since David was unable to urinate on his own for three days.
When Dr. Kanumuri received the results of the urine test, he prescribed a medication called Levaquin to treat the urinary tract infection.
Carr claims that at that point, Dr. Rallo, who now practices medicine in Columbus, Ga., took control of Askew's care. Rallo was covering David's primary care physician's rounds. Rallo first saw David at 8:40 a.m.
Carr claims instead of sending Askew to the intensive care unit, he went to an observation floor in the hospital.