FROM THE THIRTY-THIRD JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF
ALLEN, NO. C-2014-082 HONORABLE HARRY FRED RANDOW, DISTRICT
James LeBlanc Watson, Blanche, Wilson & Posner COUNSEL
Hospital Service District No. 3 of Allen Parish Nicholas
Gachassin, III Julie Savoy Gachassin Law Firm P. O. COUNSEL
Samir Abdou Tomajian Zachary R. Christiansen The Bowling Law
Firm, APLC COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANTSuzanne Baez.
composed of Marc T. Amy, Billy Howard Ezell, and Shannon J.
HOWARD EZELL JUDGE.
Baez appeals a trial court judgment granting summary judgment
in favor of Hospital Service District No. 3, d/b/a Allen
Parish Hospital, and Dr. Samir Tomajian. Summary judgment was
granted in a malpractice suit Ms. Baez filed against
defendants alleging their malpractice caused her father's
death. Ms. Baez also claims the trial court erred in denying
her motion to file a surreply and in failing to grant her a
continuance. For the following reasons, we affirm the
judgment of the trial court.
Baez travelled on a chartered bus trip from San Antonio,
Texas, to the Coushatta Casino in Kinder, Louisiana, on March
22, 2012. His sister, Olga Trevino, organized the trip. The
group arrived at the casino that afternoon and spent the
night. Around 10:30 the next morning, Ms. Trevino received a
call informing her that her brother had passed out. Mr. Baez
was transported to the Allen Parish Hospital by ambulance,
and his sister travelled in the ambulance with him.
his arrival at the hospital at 10:45 a.m., Mr. Baez reported
that he felt weak and passed out. He had not eaten that day.
He denied that he was in any pain. He also reported a history
of diabetes and hypertension. The hospital intake records
indicated that his blood pressure was 94/41 and his pulse was
58. His temperature was 98.4 degrees. Lab work, a chest
x-ray, and an EKG were ordered. Dr. Samir Tomajian, the
emergency room physician, evaluated Mr. Baez at 11:10 a.m.
Upon taking Mr. Baez's history, Dr. Tomajian discovered
that Mr. Baez previously suffered a myocardial infarction and
that a cardiac bypass was performed. Dr. Tomajian then also
ordered a troponin test.
revealed a right bundle branch block and an old infarction.
Lab results indicated a BNP of 2000, BUN 53, creatinine 3.33,
CK-MB 7.8, and troponin .06. Dr. Tomajian met with Mr. Baez
again to discuss the results of the tests. Dr. Tomajian
testified that he explained the gravity of the situation to
Mr. Baez and that his condition could worsen or lead to his
demise. Dr. Tomajian further testified that he held Mr.
Baez's hand, told him his condition was critical, and he
needed to be evaluated by a cardiologist at a larger
facility. He told Mr. Baez he was suffering from before
congestive heart failure. Dr. Tomajian stated that Mr. Baez
was worried about getting back to Texas. Dr. Tomajian then
left Mr. Baez with his sister to discuss the situation. When
Dr. Tomajian went back to talk to Mr. Baez, he and his sister
Trevino testified that she was not in the room when the
doctor initially talked to her brother. She did hear the
doctor tell her brother that he was not going to release her
brother until he was stabilized. She testified that her
brother wanted to leave right away. The bus was scheduled to
leave for San Antonio at 3:00 p.m. The doctor said he was not
letting Mr. Baez go until he ate something. Lunch was
ordered, and her brother did eat something. Her brother told
her several times he wanted to leave the hospital and get on
the bus. She tried to talk him out of leaving the hospital,
but he got mad at her. Ms. Trevino testified that she even
offered to go to Lake Charles with him so they could take a
flight home, but he refused.
Allen Parish Hospital records indicate that at 11:00 a.m. and
11:30 a.m., Mr. Baez and his sister were worried about
catching the bus back home. At 12:30 p.m., they requested to
leave as soon as possible so they could board the bus to San
Antonio, because they feared they would be stranded. The
nurse explained to them that Mr. Baez needed to contact the
emergency room as soon as he got home to be admitted to the
hospital. A representative of the hospital called the casino
at 12:40 p.m. to get transportation back to the casino. Mr.
Baez's IV was disconnected at 1:00 p.m., and the nurse
discharged him at 1:05 p.m.
they got on the bus to leave, Mr. Baez sat in the last seat
by the window with his feet propped up on the other seat. Ms.
Trevino's friend and the friend's husband sat on the
seat across the aisle from Mr. Baez. Ms. Trevino's
husband sat in the seat in front of her brother, and she sat
across the aisle from her husband. The bus made a stop in
Sealy, Texas. Mr. Baez did not get off the bus. They brought
him a hamburger and a soda, but he only took a few bites. The
bus then stopped at Columbus, Texas. Ms. Trevino's friend
informed her that Mr. Baez's eyes had been closed for
some time. When Ms. Trevino checked on her brother, he did
driver pulled over and called emergency medical services, and
an ambulance was on the scene within five minutes. Records
from the Colorado County Emergency Medical Services indicate
that Mr. Baez was not breathing and had no pulse. CPR was
performed. His pulse returned, and he was intubated. He was
taken to Columbus Community Hospital. Shortly after arriving
at the hospital, Mr. Baez died.
November 14, 2013, a medical review panel rendered its
opinion. Ms. Baez then filed suit against Dr. Tomajian and
Allen Parish Hospital on February 21, 2014. Both of the
defendants filed motions for summary judgment; Allen Parish
Hospital on April 1, 2016, and Dr. Tomajian on April 15,
2106. A hearing on the motions was held on September 22,
reviewed the memorandum and documents introduced for and
against summary judgment, including Ms. Baez's expert
affidavit, the trial court granted both of the
defendants' motions for summary judgment. Ms. Baez then
filed the present appeal.
judgment procedure is favored and "is designed to secure
the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every
action . . . . and shall be construed to accomplish these
ends." La.Code Civ.P. art 966(A)(2). In reviewing the
trial court's decision on a motion for summary judgment,
this court applies a de novo standard of review. Jackson
v. City of New Orleans, ...