Optometrist Sues Hot Springs Hospital For Malpractice

A Garland County optometrist is claiming he was neglected by hospital staff after open heart surgery at St. Joseph's Mercy Health Center in Hot Springs.

He says the inadequate care resulted in a plaguing back injury, and that prompted a medical malpractice lawsuit against the health center.

According to the lawsuit filed July 11, Erwin Lax went to the emergency room at the hospital in October 2004 "complaining of a clammy sensation." Lax was admitted and had open heart surgery a week later.

While recovering in the intensive care unit, Lax was found lying on the floor, apparently after falling from his bed.

"Throughout Dr. Lax's hospital stay, Mrs. Lax as well as other friends and family of Dr. Lax repeatedly reminded the nursing staff to keep the bed rails in the upright position . . . to insure that Dr. Lax would not succumb to another fall ...," the suit reads.

Well, three days later, Lax says he fell out of bed again, this time injuring his back and requiring corrective surgery.

The hospital's law firm, Wright Lindsey & Jennings LLP of Little Rock, is denying any negligence.