After 12 days of testimony and evidence, and more than three hours of deliberation, a jury has decided in favor of Dr. Richard E. Staerkel and Integris Bass Baptist Hospital in a medical negligence lawsuit.

The lawsuit, which also named Women’s Health and Wellness as defendant, was filed March 31, 2003.

The suit was filed by Sharla and Jerry Gould, parents of Josie Belle Gould, claiming negligence on behalf of the defendants while Sharla was under their care during her pregnancy and until the birth of Josie.

The suit claimed nurses under Staerkel’s direction administered a toxic dose of Cytotec, a drug used to induce labor. It also claimed the defendants were negligent in caring for abnormal bleeding during Sharla’s delivery, and Josie was not delivered in a timely manner and “was severely neurologically depressed at the time of birth.”

The defense denied all claims of negligence in court filings.

Bass Adminis-trator Jeff Tarrant said in a statement the hospital was pleased with the jury’s decision.

“We are pleased with the jury’s findings and thank them for their service over the past three weeks,” Tarrant said. “We were confident that when presented with all the facts, the jury would find in favor of Integris Bass and Dr. Staerkel.

“We wish Josie Gould and her family all the best.”

David Branscum, an attorney for Bass, also wished the Goulds the best and said he hoped the trial answered some of the Goulds’ questions

“These cases are terribly tragic for the families but also for the health care providers,” he said. “I hope the Goulds got some answers and found out everyone did everything they could to save that baby.”

Branscum said even in 2000, when Josie was born, risk existed.

“Labor and delivery isn’t risk free,” he said.

He said, a complication with the placenta at birth was “recognized timely” and everything that could have been done during the delivery was.

“I think the evidence showed the health care at the hospital was outstanding,” Branscum said.

Sharla Gould said it was the health care provider’s responsibility to prove information about the drugs used during treatment and encouraged everyone to do research into the drugs they are given.

“We want this case to be a reminder to anyone seeking health care that you must be aware of the drugs you are being given and their side effects,” she said.

“We trust our physicians to give us that information in its entirety,” she said. “I was not given the risk of Cytotec ,and it was given in a very high dosage, according to Bass policy.”

The Goulds’ attorney, Mark Mueller, said he intends to appeal for a new trial.

“We are definitely going to file a motion for a new trial,” he said.

Mueller said Sharla Gould had been given too much Cytotec, causing too many contractions that led to blood loss during the birth of her daughter and that there also were delays in the delivery.

“Nobody from the hospital knew how long it took to get things done,” Mueller said, noting no drills for emergency situations at the hospital were practiced.

“Staerkel admitted he was unfamiliar with hospital labor and delivery procedures,” he said. “This event should have been reported.”

Mueller said the hospital should have filed a sentinel effect report with the Joint Commis-sion of Hospital Accreditation.

“Very, very few of these get reported for analysis and review,” he said. “It should have been recorded and followed up on.”

Mueller said the under reporting and lack of sentinel effect reports was a nationwide problem, which he called “shocking.”

Witnesses from the hospital, he said, showed “a lack of awareness or willingness to admit it” of the reporting system.

“I was a little frustrated with the verdict,” he said. “I’m still optimistic things will turn out right in Enid.”

The trial began March 19, and after two days of jury selection, a nine-woman, three-man jury was impaneled for the following two weeks.

The jury went into deliberation about 4 p.m. Thursday afternoon and returned about 7:30 p.m. with a finding for the defense.

A message seeking comment from Staerkel at Women’s Health and Wellness was not returned Friday.

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