Experts testify before jury on day three of hospital trial

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SHERIDAN — Two expert witnesses testified Wednesday in the civil lawsuit filed by Neal Schuman against Sheridan Memorial Hospital for negligence and medical malpractice following an elective knee surgery.

Attorneys for both sides worked to undermine the other’s expert witness by questioning financial motives, quality and recency of training. Counsel also walked through the timeline of events again. 

For the past 40 years, Jeffrey Selwyn, the expert called by Schuman’s attorney, has traveled around the country reviewing cases and testifying. He has worked as a medical professional since the 1970s. Selwyn was paid a few thousand dollars to review the case and all of its supporting documents. Selwyn then charged the defense $750 per hour during the deposition and the plaintiff $10,000 each day he testifies at trial. The hospital’s attorney, Scott Ortiz, attempted to show Selwyn travels around the nation in his retirement to testify for plaintiffs simply for financial gain.

Ortiz called Jay Swedberg, who works in Wyoming as a professor of geriatrics at the University of Wyoming, to the stand Wednesday. Swedberg is an active physician and has a history of working with several different hospitals in Wyoming. Swedberg charges $250 per hour for his services as an expert witness. 

Hill went through six standards of care that the plaintiff believes SMH breached on Schuman’s case: improper enema administration, improper reporting, damages to Schuman, lack of investigation by physicians, lack of observation by medical professionals and lack of use of information of differential diagnosis. Selwyn testified that management of Schuman’s conditions, red flags, pain and warning signs could have prevented the end result of Schuman living the rest of his life with a colostomy bag.

Conversely, Swedberg testified that he believed SMH did in fact meet the standards of care required for Schuman’s visit.

The timeline was reiterated with both witnesses, along with extensive emphasis placed on when signs of trauma were indicated by family and on medical records, the white blood cell count level to indicate infection in Schuman, and the cause, effects and symptoms of Fournier’s gangrene.

Selwyn testified that medical professionals showed high disregard for Schuman and his family’s concerns. The defense counteracted that argument by presenting the timeline of care by each physician and nurse coming in to check on Schuman.

Wednesday’s testimonies concluded with jury questions for Swedberg. Hill emphasized the high white blood cell count as a significant indicator for infection, and that Schuman’s white blood cell count skyrocketed before physicians took notice or did anything about the issue.

Selwyn and Swedberg both agreed with the plaintiff that high white blood cell counts do indicate infection, but Swedberg repeatedly responded that a stronger and more detailed diagnosis is needed before prescribing antibiotics.

Hill concluded his arguments Wednesday, but reserved the right to call rebuttal witnesses as needed. The defense called its first witness Wednesday and listed at least 14 potential witnesses for the trial in pretrial court documents.

Thursday marks day four of the estimated five-day trial.

By |August 16th, 2018|

About the Author:

Ashleigh Fox joined The Sheridan Press in October 2016 as the government, cops and courts reporter. She is a native of Colorado and graduated from Biola University in Los Angeles, CA. Before working in Sheridan, she worked as a sports editor for the Sidney Herald in Sidney, MT. Email Ashleigh at: ashleigh.fox@thesheridanpress.com

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