Appealed from the 19th Judicial District Court In
and for the Parish of East Baton Rouge State of Louisiana
Suit No. 642149 The Honorable William A. Morvant, Judge
L. Hammons William W. Murray, Jr. Lafayette, Louisiana
Counsel for Plaintiffs/Appellants Douglas and Katherine
Languirand Coles Jonathan E. Thomas Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Counsel for Defendants/ Appellees Mohammad Z. Pirzadah, M.D.
and Charles L. Pearson, Jr., M.D.
BEFORE: HIGGINBOTHAM, PENZATO AND LANIER, JJ.
Douglas and Katherine Robins, seek review of a judgment
rendered by the Nineteenth Judicial District Court in favor
of the defendants/appellees, Mohammad Z. Pirzadah, M.D. and
Charles L. Pearson, Jr., M.D., in which the trial court found
the plaintiffs failed to prove their case of medical
malpractice against the defendants. For the following
reasons, we affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
February 20, 2012, Douglas Robins presented to the emergency
room (ER) at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital (OLOL) in Baton
Rouge with complaints of chest tightness, shortness of
breath, and coughing yellow sputum. Mr. Robins was first
examined by Dr. Gerard Broussard in the ER, who ordered a
chest x-ray. The x-ray revealed findings consistent with
congestive heart failure (CFIF).
on his examination and the x-ray, Dr. Broussard admitted Mr.
Robins to the intensive care unit (ICU) under Dr.
Pirzadah's care. Mr. Robins alleged that Dr. Pirzadah
discontinued treatment for CHF as ordered by Dr. Broussard
and diverted Mr. Robins from the ICU to a telemetry bed. Mr.
Robins remained at OLOL overnight, and on the following day
was seen by Dr. Pearson. Mr. Robins alleged that Dr. Pearson
did not timely review the x-ray or electrocardiogram
performed on Mr. Robins which indicated CHF, and thus
misdiagnosed Mr. Robins with pneumonia.
the afternoon of February 21, 2012, Dr. Pearson noted that
Mr. Robins's condition was worsening. He transferred Mr.
Robins to critical care after he was placed on a ventilator
for being hypoxic. Mr. Robins's cardiac rhythm
deteriorated, and he was resuscitated. It was at this point
that Dr. Pearson reported to Mr. Robins's family that he
had a poor prognosis. Dr. Carl Luikart was then consulted for
Mr. Robins's cardiac arrest. Dr. Luikart's impression
included congestive cardiomyopathy, acute respiratory
failure, and acute cardiac arrest.
February 24, 2012, Mr. Robins was examined by Dr. Dariusz
Gawronski, who found that Mr. Robins had sustained a hypoxic
brain injury that left Mr. Robins in a vegetative state. On
March 2, 2012, Mr. Robins was examined by Dr. Stephen Gordon,
who noted that he was in a deep coma with intermittent
twitching. In this permanent vegetative state, Mr. Robins
required assistance with breathing and eating. When Mr.
Robins was released from OLOL on March 8, 2012, he was
diagnosed with anoxic brain damage, acute ventilator
dependent respiratory failure, status post-cardiac arrest,
acute respiratory distress syndrome, and Candida in sputum.
His prognosis for a functional recovery was poor.
plaintiffs filed a request for a Medical Review Panel (MRP).
The MRP rendered an opinion, which was mailed to plaintiffs
on June 15, 2015. Two of the three panel physicians concluded
[T]here was a deviation by Dr. Pirzadah and Dr. Pearson. Upon
hospitalization a deviation occurred as the patient was no
longer treated for [CHF] and that treatment should have
continued.... [T]he patient suffered a worsening pulmonary
edema that led to respiratory failure, but cannot say whether
this led to cardiac arrest.
plaintiffs filed a petition for damages on September 10,
2015, in which they claimed that Dr. Pirzadah breached the
applicable standards of care by failing to follow and
continue Dr. Broussard's treatment plans for CHF, and by
cancelling Dr. Broussard's plan for admitting Mr. Robins
to the ICU, thereby reducing the level of acute care he
required. The plaintiffs also claimed that Dr. Pearson
breached the applicable standards of care by failing to
review and interpret the chest x-ray and echocardiogram
results, and by not diagnosing Mr. Robins's worsening CHF
until it resulted in cardiac arrest and hypoxia.
a bench trial, the trial court ruled in favor of the
defendants on September 26, 2018, finding that the plaintiffs
failed to meet their burden of proof on their claims. The
trial court dismissed ...