Wrongful death trial starts this week in Matoesian's courtroom

By Christina Stueve Hodges | Apr 10, 2013

Alton Dr. Bruce Vest was called to the witness stand Tuesday in Madison County Circuit Judge Andreas Matoesian’s courtroom in a wrongful death lawsuit over the death of a 36-year-old woman in 2004.

The lawsuit was brought by James Greco, who claims Vest failed to provide anticoagulant therapy to his wife Tamara Kay Greco, a mother of three. According to the suit, she died one week after visiting Orthopedic & Sports Medicine on April 30, 2004.

Jury selection was Monday. Arguments began Tuesday.

Greco was seen at the clinic by Dr. Bruce Vest after twisting her left ankle and foot at a bowling alley the day before she visited the clinic.

She had suffered a bilateral pulmonary thromboemboli which, according to her death certificate, was due to, or as a consequence of, immobility of her left foot.

James Greco claims Vest failed to warn about the risk of developing deep vein thrombosis, and failed to consult with a specialist in vascular surgery or disease and/or radiologic expertise.

Her left ankle also had two prior fractures and a sprain.

Greco had been examined by Ralph Douglas Spafford, a physician’s assistant in Vest’s office. Spafford is now working as a photographer, according to testimony.

Vest testified as his own expert witness as he was being questioned by plaintiff’s attorney David Horan of St. Louis. Vest admitted Greco had a severely sprained ankle with tingling toes, and that a boot was put on too tightly.

Vest testified that Greco was on birth control pills, was five feet four and weighed 230 pounds.

According to defense attorney Philip Wilman, Greco had blood clots in her lungs.

Greco came in to see Vest May 5 and examined her legs. He determined she was at low risk for blood clots.

The case, originally filed in 2006, was voluntarily dismissed in February 2010, and refiled a year later.

Plaintiff's Attorney Greg Fenlon showed the jury pictures of Greco with her husband and children as he interviewed Greco's close friend, Anne Hermann, of Alton.

Hermann testified she and Greco were in each other's weddings.

Gregory Fenlon of St. Louis also represents the plaintiff.

Don Weber of St. Louis also represents the defense.

Madison County case number 11-L-140.

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