Wesley Healthcare recently agreed to settle a lawsuit with the family of Lindsey Perez for $6 million.
A wrongful death lawsuit between the family of Lindsey Perez and Wesley Healthcare recently settled for $6 million earlier this week. The settlement came nearly four years after Perez’ family first filed the lawsuit against the healthcare facility, and is “one of the largest wrongful death decisions in Kansas history.” But what happened? Why was the lawsuit filed in the first place? What happened to Perez?
According to the lawsuit, Lindsey was a Wichita middle school teacher who passed away in October 2015 shortly after giving birth to her son, Zander. In the suit, her family argued her untimely death was preventable had she received proper care and attention. On the day of her son’s birth, Lindsey went to the emergency room at Wesley Healthcare because she was having a panic attack. She was only 35 weeks pregnant at the time, and also had high blood pressure. Upon arriving at the ER, doctors determined she needed an emergency C-section. According to the suit, her struggling increased “hours after Zander’s birth. Her husband, Edgar Perez, said:
“That’s when she started choking on her own fluid. I just remember more nurses, doctors came running and they took her to the back and someone said, ‘We can’t find a pulse. Take the family out.’ And they took us out. I don’t know how many minutes later, they told us she has passed.”
Before her death, Lindsey spent the hours following her son’s birth telling her nurse she was having trouble breathing. What Lindsey or her family did not know at the time was that she was suffering from pulmonary edema, which means fluid was beginning to build in her lungs. In response to her complaints, the registered nurse assigned to her care “reported Lindsey’s symptoms to the doctor nearly 20 minutes after Lindsey said she was having breathing problems.” However, the family argued in their suit that the nurse failed to alert a doctor in time.
Brad Prochaska, the family’s attorney, agreed and said, “Lindsey’s death was easily preventable. So the jury saw through all of that and realized, I think early on, that the nurse failed to do her job correctly, and Lindsey died as a result.”
When commenting on the settlement, representatives for the hospital said:
“While our hearts go out to the Perez family, Wesley Healthcare continues to believe that the provider and staff involved did everything possible and that no wrongdoing took place.”
The settlement was reached on Tuesday and will be awarded to Edgar and Zander Perez. The jury spent a little over two weeks listening to evidence and arguments before returning their verdict.