Doctor, Hospital Win In Medical Negligence Lawsuit

Monday, April 9th 2007, 6:00 am
By: News On 6

ENID, Okla. (AP) -- A Garfield County jury has ruled in favor of an Enid doctor and a local hospital in a medical negligence lawsuit filed in March 2003.

Sharla and Jerry Gould filed the suit, claiming that Dr. Richard Staerkel and Integris Bass Baptist Hospital had been negligent in their care of Sharla Gould during her pregnancy and until the birth of the Gould's daughter, Josie Belle Gould, in 2000.

The Gould’s said that under Staerkel's direction, a toxic dose of the ulcer drug Cytotec, often used to induce labor, was administered during Sharla Gould's delivery, causing other health problems, including damage to the newborn baby.

The defense had denied all the claims of negligence, and hospital administrator Jeff Tarrant said the hospital was pleased with the jury's decision, which was reached Friday.

The nine-woman, three-man jury had heard 12 days of testimony and evidence and took about 3 1/2 hours to reach its decision.

"We were confident that when presented with all the facts, the jury would find in favor of Integris Bass and Dr. Staerkel," Tarrant said.

"We wish Josie Gould and her family all the best."

David Branscum, an attorney for the hospital, said that during the delivery, a complication with the placenta at birth was "recognized timely." He said that everything that could be done medically during the delivery was.

"I think the evidence showed the health care at the hospital was outstanding," Branscum said.

The Gould’s attorney, Mark Mueller, said he intends to ask for a new trial. He said that Sharla Gould had been given too much Cytotec, which he said caused too many contractions that led to blood loss during the birth of Josie.

Sharla Gould said the case should "be a reminder to anyone seeking health care that you must be aware of the drugs you are being given and their side effects."

"We trust our physicians to give us that information in its entirety," she said. "I was not given the risk of Cytotec, and it was given in a very high dosage, according to Bass policy."