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WRONGFUL DEATH CLAIM GOES TO JURY.



Byline: TOM SHARPE Tom Sharpe (born March 30, 1928) is an English satirical author, born in London and educated at Lancing College and at Pembroke College, Cambridge. After National Service he moved to South Africa in 1951, doing social work and teaching in Natal, until deported in 1961.  

A Santa Fe Santa Fe, city, Argentina
Santa Fe, city (1991 pop. 341,000), capital of Santa Fe prov., NE Argentina, a river port near the Paraná, with which it is connected by canal.
 jury has begun weighing a wrongful-death claim against Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center and a former surgeon there by the family of Espanola electrician Andy Montoya.

Montoya, 74, died Dec. 11, 2005, four days after Dr. Lawrence Goldstein's surgery to unblock un·block  
tr.v. un·blocked, un·block·ing, un·blocks
To remove or clear an obstruction from: unblock a road; unblock an artery.
 Montoya's carotid artery carotid artery
n.
1. An artery that originates on the right from the brachiocephalic artery and on the left from the aortic arch, runs upward into the neck and divides opposite the upper border of the thyroid cartilage, with the external and
.

Montoya's children allege To state, recite, assert, or charge the existence of particular facts in a Pleading or an indictment; to make an allegation.


allege v.
 Goldstein was slow to correct post-operative complications that began when someone lowered the head of Montoya's bed in the intensive-care unit.

In closing arguments Thursday morning, lawyers for the Montoyas, Goldstein and the hospital disputed claims made by expert witnesses over the last week in the trial that began Oct. 14 before state District Judge Jim Hall Jim Hall is the name of:
  • Jim Hall (musician) (born 1930), jazz guitarist and composer
  • Jim Hall (boxer) (1868–1913), Australian boxer in the late 19th century
  • Jim Hall (race car driver) (born 1935), race car driver and founder of Chaparral Car
.

The Montoyas' lawyer, Richard Sandoval of Albuquerque, urged the jury to return both compensatory and punitive damages Monetary compensation awarded to an injured party that goes beyond that which is necessary to compensate the individual for losses and that is intended to punish the wrongdoer.  to "send a message" to the hospital, Goldstein and other doctors. "They just don't get it," he said. "You've got to make them understand."

Sandoval said if Goldstein had been counseled about his slow response to concerns about patients' conditions, "Andy Montoya's death could have been prevented. ... St. Vincent is responsible. They knew Dr. Goldstein was not responsive."

Goldstein's contract with the Santa Fe hospital was not renewed the year following Montoya's death for reasons unrelated to that case. He now lives in California and is suing Christus St. Vincent over his dismissal, but he has been in court for the trial.

One of Goldstein's two lawyers, Kathleen Wilson of Albuquerque, accused Sandoval of mounting a "character assassination character assassination
n.
A vicious personal verbal attack, especially one intended to destroy or damage a public figure's reputation.



character assassin n.
" on Goldstein with "outrageous claims" amounting to "smoke and distraction."

Wilson said Goldstein left the hospital and went home on the evening of Dec. 8, the day after Montoya's surgery, because caregivers thought Montoya was doing well -- not because the doctor was unresponsive unresponsive Neurology adjective Referring to a total lack of response to neurologic stimuli  to complaints. Even Montoya's family members, who had kept a close watch by his bedside, were so convinced he was improving that they went home, too, Wilson said.

Wilson said Montoya's official cause of death was "aspiration" from saliva or other fluids in his throat -- something that could not have been anticipated. "There is no message you need to send," she said.

William Slattery, one of two lawyers representing Christus St. Vincent, denied the hospital was negligent. Although one nurse filed a written complaint -- called a variance report -- against Goldstein in an unrelated case, he said, the nurse who complained about Goldstein's response in Montoya's case never filed a formal report. "A summary discharge (of Goldstein) is not warranted by one formal variance report," Slattery said.

Slattery said Sandoval's criticism on an expert witness for the defense, nursing expert Linda Cole, who said Montoya's agitation could have been from alcohol withdrawal, amounted to the plaintiffs setting up "an evil straw person." Slattery attacked the credibility of Arthur Shorr, an expert witness for the plaintiffs who criticized the hospital's response to complaints about things such as Montoya's bed being wet. "Those things shouldn't happen and I apologize to the extent they did," he said. "But those things didn't cause Andy Montoya's death."

The eight-woman, four-man jury began deliberating at noon Thursday. They went home shortly before 5 p.m. without reaching a verdict and are expected to resume this morning.

Contact Tom Sharpe at 986-3080 or tsharpe@sfnewmexican.com.

CAPTION(S):

See pdf's for exact rendition ren·di·tion  
n.
1. The act of rendering.

2. An interpretation of a musical score or a dramatic piece.

3. A performance of a musical or dramatic work.

4. A translation, often interpretive.
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Title Annotation:Local News
Publication:The Santa Fe New Mexican (Santa Fe, NM)
Date:Oct 24, 2008
Words:549
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