Jury orders River Region to pay in woman’s death at hospital in ’01|[11/22/05]

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Heirs of a Vicksburg woman who died after childbirth are to be paid $1.71 million by the local hospital’s parent company, a jury has ordered.

River Region Medical Corporation was negligent in the Dec. 26, 2001, death of Jennifer Nelson Nettles and must pay the money to her two children and her husband, the jury ruled.

The verdict was announced by Judge Isadore Patrick about 9:30 p.m. Friday after a weeklong trial in Warren County Circuit Court.

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Nettles died at ParkView Regional Medical Center, the former Vicksburg hospital that River Region owned and replaced with River Region Medical Center in February 2002.

An artery of Nettles’ was cut while she was undergoing childbirth and tying of her fallopian tubes at about 12:26 p.m., according to a document filed by Vicksburg attorney Paul Kelly Loyacono, who represented Nettles’ children. Nettles bled to death in a hospital room about six hours later, about 6:15 p.m.-6:30 p.m., the document shows.

Loyacono argued during last week’s trial that the hospital was negligent in her death because staff should have checked her blood pressure more often and should have detected the cut artery before Nettles died of it, he said.

The hospital’s attorney, L. Carl Hagwood of Greenville, wrote in a pretrial filing that the procedures of childbirth and tube-tying were uneventful, that an artery cut such as the one from which Nettles died is a known complication of the surgery that was performed.

&#8220Evidence of the acute arterial hemorrhage is established by the fact that (Nettles) suddenly expired after being appropriately monitored following her discharge from the recovery room to the floor,” Hagwood wrote.

The baby born to Nettles that day, Brandy Nicole Nettles, is in the custody of Nettles’ sister, Amy Armstrong of Kerrville, Texas.

Jennifer Nettles’ other daughter, Hallie Nettles, is in the custody of her guardian and father, Jennifer Nettles’ first husband, Brent Nettles of Hancock County.

Jennifer Nettles’ husband when she died, who is not the father of the baby, was Thomas Patterson, who Loyacono said is serving a prison sentence.

Loyacono said the payment from River Region will be divided equally among the two children and Patterson. A bank trust fund has been established on behalf of one of the daughters and one has been requested to be established on behalf of the other, Loyacono said.

&#8220Our hearts go out to this family for the loss they experienced at ParkView Regional Medical Center,” said River Region spokesman Diane Gawronski. &#8220River Region Health System has committed all the resources we can bring to bear to offer outstanding maternal-child services to our patients. Our physicians and nurses consistently review the care we offer with an eye toward improving quality and providing our staff with up-to-date specialty training to handle both routine care and unexpected emergencies.

&#8220The death of any patient is a tragedy we take very seriously. We review such cases thoroughly so that all families can continue to have confidence in the quality of care we provide to thousands of patients each year.”