Medical malpractice case against Marion hospital settles before trial in St. Clair County

By Christina Stueve | Oct 26, 2011

A wrongful death lawsuit against Heartland Regional Medical Center in Marion was settled Oct. 19 in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

Plaintiff Barbara Woodward, of Carbondale, sued Marion Hospital Corp., doing business as Heartland Regional Medical Center, on March 25, 2009, for the alleged wrongful death of her husband, James Woodward.

Woodward had sought in excess of $75,000 in compensatory damages and $15 million in punitive damages.

Her attorney, Thomas Keefe Jr., of Belleville, could not disclose the terms of the agreement. "One of the terms of the settlement was confidentiality," he said. "I gave them my word."

St. Clair County Circuit Judge Lloyd Cueto approved the settlement.

James Woodward died Oct. 1, 2005 at St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Belleville. He was hospitalized Sept. 2, 2005 at Heartland Regional Medical Center for a cardiac catheterization and percutaneous cardiology intervention (PCI), according to the complaint.

Heartland was accused of permitting an elective PCI without cardio-thoracic surgical on-site coverage or availability. The hospital allegedly failed to have a transfer helicopter with a balloon pump available for a patient like Woodward.

The complaint stated "that as a direct and proximate result of the defendant's fraudulent misrepresentations surgery proceeded, complications occurred, there was no cardio-thoracic surgeon available, and the plaintiff suffered permanent pain, mental anguish, suffering, disability, incurred large sums of money in the hospital, medical, and related expenses, and was permanently prevented from attending to his usual affairs and duties."

Defense attorneys Richard Behr and Stephen Potter of Behr, McCarter & Potter in St. Louis had been contacted for comment, but had not returned phone calls.

St. Clair County case number 09-L-155

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