Crime & Public Safety

She got septic shock and died. Now her husband is suing a Beaufort County doctor

Lawsuit filed against Wendy Kloesz by Elbert C. Jackson, Jr on both his own behalf and the behalf of his late wife Veronica S. Jackson.
Lawsuit filed against Wendy Kloesz by Elbert C. Jackson, Jr on both his own behalf and the behalf of his late wife Veronica S. Jackson.

A Beaufort County man whose wife underwent major back and spinal surgery and died less than a year later has sued a local doctor claiming the physician’s negligence contributed to his wife’s decline in health.

The medical malpractice suit, filed Feb. 19 in the Beaufort County Court of Common Pleas by Elbert C. Jackson, Jr. on behalf of his and his wife’s estate, claims professional negligence and loss of consortium as the result of the actions of Beaufort County physician Wendy Kloesz.

Neither of the plaintiff’s attorneys or the attorney for the defendant would comment on ongoing litigation.

Following surgery at Medical University of South Carolina on Dec. 14, 2016, Veronica S. Jackson had a catheter inserted, according to the suit. Following transfer to Life Care Center of Hilton Head on Dec. 21, 2016, Jackson began feeling pain related to the catheter, and on Jan. 2, 2017 was seen by Kloesz, who ordered a trial removal, according to the suit. The next day the catheter was reinserted by Life Care Center staff, the suit says.

During a Jan. 27, 2017 visit with Kloesz, Jackson said she might have a urinary tract infection. She was prescribed medication and urinalysis was ordered, the suit says. Three days later Jackson was found unconscious in her room.

She was transferred to the emergency department of Hilton Head Hospital. The suit claims that the catheter removed from her was contaminated, according to a doctor. Jackson was unconscious for five days. Her symptoms, according to physicians at Hilton Head Hospital, were consistent with septic shock, the suit said.

After months in rehabilitation centers and hospitals, Jackson returned home on May 14, 2017, but the suit says that she was readmitted to Hilton Head Hospital on Sept. 6 due to sepsis and septic shock. Once at the hospital, she suffered respiratory failure and was intubated. She died on Oct. 9, 2017. The official causes were encephalopathy, sepsis, pneumonia, acute respiratory failure, and venous thromboembolism, according to the suit.

The suit claims that Kloesz failed to recognize and respond in a timely manner to Jackson’s urinary tract infection, that she failed to ensure the urinalysis that she ordered was completed and evaluated in a timely manner, and that she failed to follow up on it once it was.

Judgment is sought for “economic damages in such amount as the court may find,” non-economic damages for pain and suffering up to $350,000 and deprivation of consortium for $350,000 “or such other amount as may be found at trial.”

This lawsuit represents one side of a legal dispute.

Michael Olinger: 843-706-8107, @mikejolinger