St. Louis Record

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Court dismisses wrongful death suit against U.S. stemming from surgery at Betty Jean Kerr People's Health Center

Federal Court

By Marian Johns | Oct 8, 2019


ST. LOUIS – A federal court has dismissed the wrongful death claims against the United States government filed by the children of a woman who died during surgery at the Betty Jean Kerr People's Health Centers in St. Louis. The court also allowed parts of the suit to continue

According to the Sept. 17 U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri filing, defendants the United States of America and others asked the court to dismiss claims filed by plaintiffs Precious Simms, through her children Demetria Vaughn and Glen Walker. 

"It is hereby ordered that defendant United States of America’s motion to dismiss is granted and plaintiff Glen Walker’s claim against the United States of America is dismissed with prejudice," Judge Catherine Perry wrote in court's decision. "Walker’s state-law claims against defendants Stefan Eichhorn, M.D., Anesthesia Partners LTD, and SSM Health Care St. Louis remain pending."

The plaintiffs allege their mother died due to the negligence of the defendants after she suffered injuries during a laparoscopic hysterectomy in 2017. Both siblings filed separate claims to the Department of Health and Human Services.

"Walker has not satisfied the jurisdictional requirements in order to maintain an FTCA (Federal Tort Claims Act) claim against the United States arising from Precious Simms’ death," Perry wrote.  "And because the statute of limitations for presenting an administrative claim in the circumstances of this case expired two years after Simms’ death, that is, April 13, 2019, he is barred from bringing such a claim now."

"Because Glen Walker did not exhaust his administrative remedies under the FTCA, I do not have subject matter jurisdiction over his claim against the United States," Perry wrote. "As the statute of limitations to bring an administrative claim has expired, I will dismiss his claim against the United States with prejudice."

Perry gave the federal government until Sept. 26 to respond to Vaughn's FTCA claim.

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