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McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
  • Family testifies in malpractice suit

  • Courtney Williams’ parents and grandparents testified Wednesday against Dr. Jim Prescott, whom the family says did not do enough to treat a condition that led to Courtney’s death in September 2008.
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  • Courtney Williams’ parents and grandparents testified Wednesday against Dr. Jim Prescott, whom the family says did not do enough to treat a condition that led to Courtney’s death in September 2008.
    Courtney died at age 8 at Wesley Medical Center of a ruptured colon caused by chronic constipation.
    Dr. Thomas Huffman, a Missouri doctor, also testified against Prescott, saying that Prescott should have been more diligent in following up on Courtney’s condition and Prescott should have considered other treatment methods.
    Courtney’s mother, Melinda Williams, said throughout Prescott’s treatment of her daughter, the doctor prescribed medication and other treatments without fully explaining how to administer them.
    She also said Prescott did not ask her to keep track of Courtney’s bowel movements. Huffman said this is something doctors should ask parents to do because it helps doctors keep track of how the treatment is working.
    Melinda and her husband, Kelly, along with Melinda’s mother, Carolyn Elmore, said Courtney was given the laxatives as prescribed by Prescott.
    However, Melinda and Kelly said they would stop giving her the laxatives for two to three days after she had a bowel movement because it caused pain and chafing to Courtney’s bottom.
    Both acknowledged Prescott and Dr. Charles Hodge, a pediatric bowel specialist in Kansas City whom the family visited on two occasions, had instructed them to give Courtney laxatives every day. They also acknowledged they only told Prescott of the chafing once.Prescott’s defense cited Kelly and Melinda’s depositions, taken in 2011, in which both stated Courtney had not been given laxatives for two- to three-week periods. Melinda later said there might have been five-day periods in which she did not give Courtney laxatives.
    Melinda also said she would sometimes give Courtney milk of magnesia when the prescribed laxatives ran out. She said a person in Prescott’s office had told her it was OK, and that she believed all the medications did the same thing.
    Melinda said Prescott’s advice always was the same during the two-year period Prescott saw Courtney for bowel problems. Both parents said Courtney’s condition did not improve while on laxatives, and that they never stopped giving her laxatives.
    Huffman said after reviewing Courtney’s medical records, he found no evidence that Courtney’s bowel ever normalized, contrary to Prescott's statement that they did for months at a time.
    Melinda said the longest period of time that Courtney’s bowels normalized was one week.
    Huffman said according to his examination of the records, Courtney’s condition worsened during the time she saw Prescott.
    He also said Prescott should have considered other possible diagnoses as the problem worsened beyond the normal range of functional constipation, which was Prescott and Hodge’s diagnosis of Courtney’s condition.
    Page 2 of 2 - Courtney’s parents and grandparents said they also tried various rewards systems recommended to them by a psychologist Prescott referred them to.
    Kelly said these methods didn’t help. Kelly also said he thought the visit to Hodge was a waste of time because Hodge told them what Prescott already had told them.
    Melinda said she didn’t feel like she was a partner with Prescott in treating Courtney. She said while Prescott was kind and caring to Courtney, she felt he wasn’t very kind to her.
    Prescott’s defense pointed out this contradicted her statement during her deposition in 2011 that Prescott was kind and caring to both her and Courtney.
    One of the Williams’ attorneys suggested inconsistencies in Melinda’s statements was a result of Melinda’s inexperience with the legal system at the time of her deposition.
    The court adjourned after Melinda’s testimony and was set to resume at 9 a.m. this morning.
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