Yesterday a jury handed down a $1.5 million verdict to the family of Aurilano Salas for a wrongful death lawsuit that was filed after his 2001 death. The verdict was only 15 percent of the $10 million that the plantiffs attorney suggested as “reasonable compensation.”
Salas was had no spleen and suffered from many life threatening conditions. He became ill at work and was transported to Christus Hospital St. Mary in Beaumont. There he was diagnosed with a respiratory infection and prescribed Tylenol for his fever and antibiotics for his sepsis.
According to the plaintiffs’ original petition, on Aug. 6, 2001, Aurilano Salas was in Port Arthur driving a dump truck, helping his son Rudy at a work site when he began to experience weakness, nausea, vomiting and pain radiating from his jaw to his left arm and through his back. He has transported to St. Mary Hospital and attended to by defendants Dr. Peterson, Dr. Ghyath Samman and nurse Maryann Guillory.
An autopsy showed a freshly clogged artery in Salas’s heart and the family claims that they notified the attending physicians and nurses that the patient had a heart condition and this information was not acted upon. The family claims that the misdiagnosis of Salas’s condition lead directly to his death. The hospital denies this claims and asserts that they were negligent in no way shape or form.
The defendant’s attorney argued that Salas was not misdiagnosed and that he died of sepsis without a doubt. Therefore the healthcare facility should not be found guilty of negligence. This defense did seem to make some impact as the verdict was lower than expected.
Salas’ wife Esmeralda Salas was awarded $343,000 for past and future pecuniary loss, $100,000 for past loss of companionship and $125,000 for past mental anguish damages.
Salas’ children were awarded $550,000 for past loss of companion ship and mental anguish.
Aurilano Salas’ estate was awarded $10,000 for medical expenses, $10,000 for funeral expenses and $500,000 for pain and mental anguish.
For more information on this subject matter, please refer to the section on Wrongful Death.