71-year-old Sam Clovis, a 2014 candidate in the Iowa Republican Senate primary, one of the national co-chairs of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, and a former senior White House adviser to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, who was known as a vocal advocate for medical malpractice tort reform, has filed an Iowa medical malpractce lawsuit against UnityPoint Health and St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center of Sioux City, Regency Square Center and Family Health Care of Siouxland, Dr. Melissa Austrem-Krell, Dr. Michael Lynn Brenner, Dr. Rita K. Jenkins, and Dr. Thomas J. Wente, alleging that their medical negligence led to his permanent paraplegia.
Clovis’ Iowa medical malpractice lawsuit alleges that the defendants negligently failed to timely diagnose and treat his thoracic spinal cord abscess from April to June 2019, resulting in bladder and bowel incontinence, paraplegia that has confined him to a wheelchair, and requires that he receive around-the-clock care.
The Iowa medical malpractice lawsuit alleges that Clovis was seen in St. Luke’s emergency department in April 2019 for chest pain radiating into his back. He was treated with morphine for the pain and later discharged with a prescription for painkillers. He returned to the emergency department two days later, with continuing complaints of chest pain, leg weakness, and shortness of breath, at which time he was admitted to the hospital and treated for possible pneumonia. He was diagnosed with staphylococcus aureus. Despite his complaints of back pain and leg weakness, no MRI of his back was ordered.
Clovis was transferred to St. Luke’s rehabilitation department after one week in the hospital. After two weeks in rehab, he was transferred to Regency Square Care Center. On June 7, 2019, Clovis’ condition continued to deteriorate and he lost the use of his legs. He was transferred back to St. Luke’s. On June 9, an MRI was performed that showed a thoracic spnal cord abscess. Emergency surgery to drain the abscess was performed at that time but he remained a paraplegic after the surgery.
Iowa’s medical malpractice law provides: “The total amount recoverable in any civil action for noneconomic damages for personal injury or death, whether in tort, contract, or otherwise, against a health care provider shall be limited to two hundred fifty thousand dollars for any occurrence resulting in injury or death of a patient regardless of the number of plaintiffs, derivative claims, theories of liability, or defendants in the civil action, unless the jury determines that there is a substantial or permanent loss or impairment of a bodily function, substantial disfigurement, or death, which warrants a finding that imposition of such a limitation would deprive the plaintiff of just compensation for the injuries sustained.”
If you or a loved one may have been harmed as a result of medical malpractice in Iowa or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find a medical malpractice lawyer in Iowa or in your state who may investigate your medical negligence claim for you and represent you or your loved one in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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