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McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
  • Jury finds for doctor

  • After a three-day trial, the jury ruled in favor of Dr. James Prescott Thursday afternoon in a malpractice lawsuit filed against him by Melinda and Kelly Williams.
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  • After a three-day trial, the jury ruled in favor of Dr. James Prescott Thursday afternoon in a malpractice lawsuit filed against him by Melinda and Kelly Williams.
    The suit regarded Prescott's treatment of 8-year-old Courtney Williams, who died of a ruptured colon in September 2008.
    Courtney's ruptured colon was the result of chronic constipation, which began in 2004, according to her medical records.
    Dr. Deborah Haynes of Wichita testified in Prescott's defense Thursday morning.
    Haynes testified regarding Hirschsprung's disease, a disease that can cause constipation. Dr. Thomas Huffman of Missouri suggested during his testimony Wednesday that Courtney's constipation may have had an organic cause, such as Hirschsprung's disease, based on his analysis of Courtney's medical records.
    Haynes said her examination of Courtney's records revealed no evidence that she had Hirschsprung's disease. She said organic causes of constipation are typically diagnosed during the first year of a child's life.
    The first time Courtney was diagnosed with constipation was at age 4, according to her medical records.
    Haynes said she agrees with Prescott and Dr. Charles Hodge, a pediatric bowel specialist in Kansas City, that Courtney had functional constipation and that the treatment prescribed by Prescott and Hodge was appropriate.
    The prosecution brought up several times during the trial that one of Hodge's nurses made a note that Prescott promised to call Melinda Williams to adjust the dosage of Courtney's medication after Courtney visited Hodge in 2006.
    The prosecution also brought up that Prescott never made that phone call.
    Prescott said during his testimony Tuesday that he does not recall making this promise and that a phone call to Melinda would have been redundant.
    Melinda said during her deposition in 2011 that she understood she was supposed to call Prescott if Courtney's condition stayed the same.
    Hayes said she will call a patient if she is aware of something potentially life-threatening, but that she usually assumes the patient will call with questions or to make an appointment.
    Prescott said Tuesday that Courtney's condition is not considered lethal.
    Hayes said regular administration of medication is necessary for children such as Courtney because they are used to experiencing pain when defecating. She said the purpose of treatment is to keep a condition from getting worse.
    Hayes said she did not view the x-ray images Prescott took of Courtney, but that she trusted Hodge's interpretation of the images.
    Hayes concluded her testimony Thursday morning, and no further witnesses were called.
    After a recess, the judge instructed the jury concerning the law and their duties before the attorneys gave closing remarks.
    The prosecuting attorney said Prescott's care was neglectful and that he never considered the correct diagnosis for Courtney. The prosecuting attorney said the correct diagnosis was megacolon, or enlarged colon.
    Page 2 of 2 - He said Prescott broke his promise to Hodge to call Melinda Williams to schedule an appointment for Courtney, and that the defense only blamed the mother for Courtney's death.
    He said Prescott's failure to call Melinda constitutes a departure from the Standard of Care, or the care an ordinary doctor would give patients.
    The defensive attorney reiterated many of the points he brought up in his opening remarks.
    He said Prescott's diagnosis and treatment were correct and corroborated by two other doctors. He also said it was never Prescott's intention to cast blame on Melinda.
    He reminded the jury of certain discrepancies between statements Melinda and Kelly Williams made in their depositions in 2011 and statements they made during the trial.
    He also said Courtney's medical records show her problem was intermittent, consistent with Prescott's diagnosis.
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