Lawsuit trial continues for local hospital
Sabrina Bates, News Editor
Posted: Tuesday, June 30, 2009 9:02 pm
A lawsuit accusing a local hospital of negligence continues in Weakley County Circuit Court this week.
A panel of 12 jurors heard plaintiff testimony last week in the case against Martin’s Volunteer Community Hospital.
An initial lawsuit dated June 14, 2007, was filed almost one year after University of Tennessee at Martin senior and Lawrenceburg-native Jodi Woods walked into Volunteer’s emergency department and died a few days later.
Woods’ mom, Donna Shedd of Lawrenceburg, filed the suit against VCH, Dr. David Oruma, M.D., the medical doctor on staff the day Woods entered the emergency room of Volunteer and Shani Edge, the registered nurse on staff that day.
“Jodi Woods suffered severe injuries as a legal result of the Defendants’ negligence, including severe pain and suffering, brain damage and an untimely death, all of which would not otherwise have occurred but for the Defendants’ negligence and were caused by the Defendants’ negligence,” the lawsuit reads.
According to the suit, the UTM senior awoke June 20, 2006 with the “worst headache of her life” and was experiencing vomiting, sensitivity to light, a sore neck and a low-grade fever.
After calling her parents, Woods’ friend Jennifer Owen took her to the emergency room of Volunteer shortly after 2 p.m. that day.
Woods’ vomited bile approximately 30 minutes after arriving at the hospital, according to the suit.
Nurse Edge requested a urine screen to check for the presence of drugs and Woods’ white blood cell count was elevated revealing the presence of bacteria, the suit claims.
She underwent a CT scan and was sent to an isolated room.
According to the lawsuit, a nurse noted Woods to be “very agitated” and “flopping around,” unable to maintain eye contact or respond to questions at 4:20 that afternoon.
She was allegedly moved to another room with the assistance of three other nurses and placed in leather restraints.
The doctor, Oruma, was reportedly at her bedside the first time at 4:30 p.m. According to the lawsuit, Woods was given several medications over the course of an hour and a half while at the emergency room. Those listed in the suit include:
• 4:36 p.m. – Narcan, a drug used to diagnose possible overdose of narcotics or to reverse the effects of narcotics;
• 4:55 p.m. – Ativan, a drug used to treat anxiety and also known as an anticonvulsant;
• 5:30 p.m. – Lorazepam, also known as Ativan;
• 5:35 p.m. – Haldol, an antipsychotic;
• 5:42 p.m. – Narcan;
• 6:10 p.m. – Rocephin, an antibiotic.
Woods was moaning and in severe pain by 6 p.m. and unable to recognize her mother, according to the suit.
After the local hospital contacted a neurologist at Jackson-Madison County General Hospital, Woods was given the antibiotic, Rocephin to reduce the effects of brain swelling, according to the suit.
“At 6:10 p.m., nearly four hours after her initial visit to the Emergency Department, an antibiotic, Rocephin was finally administered to Jodi Woods,” the suit reads.
Woods allegedly had “flaccid extremities” and was “not responding to painful stimuli” at 6:52 p.m. while still in the Martin hospital. Shedd had requested the hospital arrange for her daughter to be airlifted to JMCGH, but was told Woods would be transported by ambulance to the Jackson hospital.
She experienced brain swelling and her heart and respiration began to shut at 7:10 p.m. when she was intubated.
Woods was airlifted to the Jackson hospital at 7:30 p.m. where she was diagnosed with meningococcal meningitis and encephalopathy, according to the suit.
Shedd told the jury during testimony in circuit court on Friday that the doctor at Jackson Madison County General Hospital pulled spinal fluid from her daughter and diagnosed her with bacterial meningitis. Woods remained “brain dead” and in a coma four days before the family was asked to make the decision to pull her from life support.
“I thought God would do a miracle and she would start breathing, but she didn’t. Trying to describe Jodi (Woods) is like trying to describe chocolate to someone who had never eaten it,” Shedd commented from the witness stand.
When asked how she was now, Shedd said three years after losing her daughter, she is still in pain.
“You have to go through it before you would ever know. No parent should ever have to lose a child. I try to move on for Jodi’s sake. People told us it would get better as time went on, but it’s not going to,” Shedd added.
Before 27th Judicial District Circuit Court Judge William Acree dismissed the jury for the weekend, Shedd announced “three years ago today, we were having her funeral.”
Woods was a Special Ed major at UT Martin.
Shedd has sued VCH, Oruma and Edge for $10 million in damages as a result of her daughter’s death. The defendants are scheduled to take the stand this week.