Parks et al v. Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System of Little Rock et al
ORDER awarding plaintiff's estate $8,000.00 on its survival claim, for plaintiff's pain and suffering from September 6-8, 2008. The Court looks forward to receiving either the parties' stipulation or a motion by December 19, 2011. Signed by Judge D. P. Marshall Jr. on 12/9/11. (kpr)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
PINE BLUFF DIVISION
SHAINA PARKS, as
Special Administrator of the
Estate of BILLY PARKS, SR.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
I. The parties tried this medical malpractice and wrongful death case
to the bench from 7 November to 10 November 2011. Parks twice moved for
judgment as a matter of law during the trial, and the Court denied the
motions. On November 10th, the Court decided the case from the bench: on
the wrongful-death claim, the Court found in favor of Parks regarding the
standard of care at the Veterans Hospital on 6 September 2008, but found in
favor of the United States on proximate-causation; and the Court found for
the Parks Estate on the survival claim, ruling that it was entitled to damages
for Mr. Parks's pain and suffering from 6-8 September 2008.
II. The Court adopts, with slight modifications, the parties' joint
statement of this case. Shaina Parks brought this lawsuit against the United
States under the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 u.s.C. §§ 1346(b) & 2671, et seq.
In accordance with this Act, the liability of the United States is determined in
accordance with the substantive law of the place where the alleged negligent
act or omission occurred. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1346(b) & 2674. Because the action was
for medical injury, the case was litigated as one under the Arkansas Medical
Malpractice Act. ARK. CODE ANN. § 16-114-201, et seq.
Parks brought the suit as the Special Administrator of the Estate of Billy
Parks, Sr., pursuant to the Arkansas survival statute, and for the benefit of
two putative wrongful death beneficiaries: Billy Parks, Jr. and Cassie Parks.
ARK. CODE ANN. §§ 16-62-101 & 102. Parks claimed that the John L.
McClellan Memorial Veterans Hospital was negligent in the care and
treatment of Mr. Billy Parks, Sf. on 6 September 2008 because :rvIr. Parks's
treating physician failed to diagnose a staph infection when Mr. Parks
presented to the emergency room. Parks claimed that this failure to diagnose
led to pain, suffering, mental anguish, and ultimately caused Mr. Parks's
death. The United States denied the allegations. It pleaded that there was no
deviation from the standard of care at the hospital on that date and that, even
assuming for argument that there was, it did not proximately cause the dea th
of Mr. Parks.
III. The Court also adopts the joint stipulated facts.
Billy Parks, Sr. was a fifty-eight-year-old male who had a
medical history of coronary artery disease.
Mr. Parks had a medical history of atrial fibrillation.
Mr. Parks had a social history of smoking one pack per day
for forty years.
1v1r. Parks had a medical history of hypertension.
Mr. Parks had a medical history of obesity.
Mr. Parks had a medical history of interventional surgical
procedures to his coronary arteries to relieve blockage of the arteries and
allow for more adequate blood flow to his heart in July 2006.
The care and treatment of Mr. Parks on 16-18 July 2006 was
wi thin the standard of care. .
From 21 July-2 August 2006, he was admitted to the
Veterans Hospital and treated for methicillin sensitive staphylococcus aureus.
He was discharged from the hospital on 2 August 2006 with IV antibiotics to
be completed at home for the following four weeks.
Mr. Parks's care and treatment at the Veterans Hospital in
July and August 2006 was within the standard of care.
(10) On 27-30 August 2008, Mr. Parks underwent another heart
catheterization at the Veterans Hospital to assess blood flow in his coronary
(11) The care and treatment of Mr. Parks by the medical care
providers at the Veterans Hospital from 27-30 August 2008 was within the
standard of care.
(12) Mr. Parks was again admitted to the Veterans Hospital from
8-24 September 2008.
(13) At the 8September 2008 admission to the Veterans Hospital,
Mr. Parks was diagnosed with methicillin sensitive staphylococcus aureus.
(14) The care and treatment of Mr. Parks by the medical care
providers from 8-24 September 2008 was within the standard of care.
(15) On 11 October 2008, Mr. Parks presented to Jefferson
Regional Memorial Medical Center in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, complaining of
bilateral loss of sensation in his lower extremities. He was transfened to the
Veterans Hospital on 12 October 2008.
(16) Mr. Parks was admitted to the Veterans Hospital from 11
October - 24 November 2008.
(17) Mr. Parks had surgery to relieve compression on his spinal
cord which was causing bilateral lower extremity paralysis on 12 October
(18) In the neurosurgeon's operative report, there is no finding
that a spinal abscess was present.
(19) The neurosurgeon sent a specimen from the operative site
(20) The pathology report examining the operative culture from
Mr. Parks's spine is negative for infection.
(21) Billy Parks, Sr. died on 24 November 2008.
(22) Billy Parks, Sr. died of adult respiratory distress syndrome
and ventilator-associated pneumonia, acute renal failure, atrial fibrillation,
and transverse myelopathy.
(23) Billy Parks, Sr. did not die of staphylococcus aureus
(24) The care and treatment of Billy Parks Sf. by the medical care
providers from 11 October-24 November 2008 was within the standard of
The Court holds for the reasons stated on the record at the end
of the trial, that the Veterans Hospital deviated from the standard of care on
6 September 2008. But Parks did not prove by a preponderance of the
evidence that this deviation proximately caused Mr. Parks's later death. The
Court awards the Parks Estate $8 /000.00 on the survival claim ARK. CODE
16-62-101 for Mr. Parks/s pain and suffering from 6-8 September
The Parks Estate is also entitled to some Rule 54(d)(1) of Civil
Procedure costs, as the Court may allow on the parties' stipulation or on
motion. The Court looks forward to receiving one or the other by 19
D.P. Marshall Jr.
United States District Judge
9 December 2011
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