Memorial Hospital, cardiologist blamed in med mal complaint

By Kelly Holleran | Dec 17, 2008

An Illinois woman has filed suit against Memorial Hospital, Cardiology Consultants and one of its doctors, alleging her mother died because of their negligence.

Joyce Merrell claims her mother, Lucille Bailey, underwent surgery conducted by Dr. Atul S. Shah for the placement of a cardiac pacemaker on Feb. 2, 2007, according to a complaint filed Dec. 12 in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

After the procedure was finished, Bailey was taken to the surgical recovery room, where she began to complain of substernal chest pain, the suit states.

Shah ordered an echocardiogram and received the results, but did not recognize any significant findings, Merrell alleges.

So, Shah ordered Bailey to be transferred to the intermediate care unit, according to the complaint.

"Decedent continued to complain of chest pain, while under the care of the nurses in the intermediate care unit at Memorial Hospital, yet the nurses failed to monitor, document, and report decedent's pain and her deteriorating status and failed to provide Dr. Shah with updates regarding decedent's pain and her deteriorating status," the suit states.

Later in the day, Bailey suffered a cardiopulmonary arrest because of an undetected pericardial effusion, Merrell claims.

Bailey died on Feb. 2, 2007, according to the complaint.

Before her death, Bailey experienced great pain and suffering and incurred medical expenses, the suit states.

Because of Bailey's death, Merrell has suffered loss of money, benefits, goods, services, companionship, instruction, moral training, superintendence of education and Bailey's society, the suit states.

She has also incurred medical, funeral and burial expenses, Merrell claims.

Shah was negligent by failing to diagnose Bailey as suffering from a pericardial effusion, by failing to adequately and timely perform any follow-up test or evaluations, by failing to perform an adequate evaluation and assessment of Bailey's medical condition and by failing to properly monitor Bailey's condition after surgery, the suit states.

Nurses in the intermediate care unit at Memorial Hospital were negligent by failing to monitor the status of Bailey while she was under their care, by failing to assess, monitor, document and report Bailey's complaints of chest pain and physical deterioration and by failing to notify Shah of Bailey's chest pain and her deteriorating status while she was under their care, Merrell alleges.

In the nine-count suit, Merrell is seeking a judgment in excess of $450,000, plus court costs and other relief the court deems just.

Dawn M. Mefford and Kate M. Jilka of Simon and Passanante in St. Louis will be representing her.

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