Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder has scheduled an October trial in a suit against two doctors, or a suit against their answering service, or a suit against just one of the doctors.
Crowder retains three options because attorney Rex Carr of East St. Louis pleads three alternate causes of action for Edward Hoekstra of Godfrey.
Hoekstra lost most of his small bowel in surgery at Alton Memorial Hospital five years ago, according to Carr.
Carr claims that Hoekstra requires intensive daily care, suffers severe pain, and continues to lose wages.
Spouse Mary Hoekstra seeks damages for loss of consortium.
The first cause of action alleges that Laurance Monckton, Aamir Javaid and Alton Memorial Hospital failed to respond in a timely manner to Hoekstra's deteriorating condition.
That cause of action also names as defendants New RPS and Midwest Acute Care Consultants, where Monckton and Javaid practiced.
In an alternative cause of action, Carr alleges that Answer Midwest Inc., an answering service, failed to deliver a message from Javaid to Monckton.
In another alternative, Carr alleges that Monckton removed more of Hoekstra's small bowel than necessary.
According to Carr, Alton Memorial Hospital admitted Hoekstra Aug. 18, 2002, and Javaid saw him the next day.
According to Carr, Javaid failed to respond to Hoekstra's deteriorating condition and Monckton failed to respond to a request from Javaid for surgical consultation.
Monckton performed surgery Aug. 21, but according to Carr he removed nearly all the small bowel when he knew or should have known it was only necessary to remove a small part of it.
Carr filed the suit in 2004. He filed an amended complaint March 13.
In response for Answer Midwest, Michael Pitzer of St. Louis denied that his client had a duty to guarantee that Monckton would receive all messages.
He wrote that no act or omission of Answer Midwest proximately caused Hoekstra's injuries.
In response for Javaid, Stephen Fields of Clayton, Mo., wrote that the complaint failed to set out any facts to establish a duty to the plaintiffs.
The original complaint set off a cycle of cross claims and counterclaims. The amended complaint will likely start the cycle over.
Crowder signed an order March 9, setting trial Oct. 1.
She set an April 30 deadline for deposition of Hoekstra's experts and a July 30 deadline for deposition of defense experts.