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Archive for Sunday, July 30, 2006

Good Samaritan’s widow sues hospital

July 30, 2006

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— The widow of a man who was critically injured and later died after trying to stop a purse snatching has sued the hospital where he was treated and two of his doctors.

Stephanie Sandgren, widow of Jonathan U, filed the medical malpractice lawsuit in Johnson County District Court on Friday. She claims staff at Overland Park Regional Medical Center were negligent when they treated her husband. The suit requests unspecified monetary damages.

"It's just a tragedy on top of a tragedy," said Sandgren's attorney, Jim Bartimus. "This guy was a true hero who tried to be a really Good Samaritan. ... Then he got into a well-known, well-respected hospital, and unfortunately, mistakes were made that directly led to his death."

A spokeswoman for the Medical Center said hospital officials hadn't seen the lawsuit and couldn't comment.

On May 20, 2005, U, 29, was in a parking lot in Olathe when he heard a woman screaming that someone had stolen her purse. U saw the thief driving away and tried to climb in the driver's-side door to stop him.

Instead, the vehicle crashed, pinning U between the car door and a building. He died 18 days later.

Brad Joseph Jones, 27, of Gardner, Mo., was convicted in April of first-degree murder in U's death and sentenced to life in prison.

During Jones' trial, defense attorney Carl Cornwell raised the issue of U's medical care, saying it was responsible for his death, not Jones' actions. He brought in a medical expert who agreed.

Prosecutors deflected the criticism, saying Jones was ultimately responsible for U's injuries, which led to his death, offering their own expert witness to praise U's medical care.

Bartimus said Sandgren wanted to wait until after the criminal trial to look into her husband's medical care. He added that Sandgren didn't want to comment on the lawsuit.

The lawsuit notes that U had initial surgery on May 20 and appeared to be improving. Five days later, however, his condition worsened and he never recovered.

The complaint says doctors at the hospital were slow to see U was getting worse, gave him the wrong antibiotics and waited too long to send him back to surgery.

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