January 20, 2011
A soldier formerly based in Casper had no choice but to sue three Casper doctors in federal court for medical malpractice that nearly killed him, he said Tuesday.
“First, it was for my family,” former U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Edward Poche, 39, said in an interview from his home in Byron, Ga.
“I lost my career over what happened, and [the family] had to come first,” Poche said.
He and his wife, Cynthia, also wanted Wyoming residents to know they have the right to take action in similar cases, he said. “I survived; the next guy might not.”
Poche’s attorney, Steven Shapiro, said he partly framed the case with a public perspective. “We told the jury, ‘Is this the kind of care you want in the state of Wyoming?’”
After a four-week trial ending Friday, the jury in U.S. District Court in Cheyenne awarded the Poches $1.6 million in damages – about half of what they were demanding – after finding Dr. Raoul Joubran 60 percent negligent and Dr. Mary MacGuire 40 percent negligent. The jury did not find Dr. James Anderson negligent.
The jury also awarded the federal government $380,000 in compensation for the Bethesda (Md.) Naval Hospital, which had to repair the damages caused by Joubran and MacGuire.
The doctors declined to mediate the case or take it to the Wyoming Attorney General’s Medical Review Panel, Shapiro said.
In court documents and at trial, the doctors said they operated within the standard of care and their efforts saved Poche’s life.
Anderson’s attorney, Jeff Brinkerhoff, said he was surprised at the overall verdict, but pleased that the jury agreed his client met the standard of care.
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