Steadman Heirs v. McManus, Fourth District Court for Utah County, Provo Department #160400870 (Hon. James R. Taylor) started trial yesterday. Opening statements were this morning.

This is a wrongful death action brought by the heirs of Audra Steadman, a 41-year old Lehi, Utah woman who died in 2013 from respiratory-cardiac arrest during her admission to American Fork Hospital. Here’s the Amended Complaint. It’s a medically complex case, but the essential allegations are that the defendants, two family medicine doctors employed by Premier Family Medical, failed to diagnose and treat severe anemia and consequent lung injuries from a transfusion. This, it is claimed, led to a cardiopulmonary arrest and death.

In addition to the standard-of-care issues, there’s a hot dispute among the experts over whether Ms. Steadman died from untreated anemia, pneumonia, a transfusion reaction, or something else entirely, such as unauthorized home medications.

Plaintiff’s experts: William Norcross, M.D. (San Diego- family practice); Kenneth Herbst, M.D. (Arizona- hematology and oncology); Richard Trepeta, M.D. (AZ- pathology); Michael P. Pietila, M.D. (South Dakota- pulmonary critical care).

Defendants’ experts: Alan Smith, M.D. (Delta, UT- family medicine); Scott Aberegg (Salt Lake City- pulmonology and critical care); Scott Kush, J.D., M.D. (Palo Alto- life expectancy).

The hospital was earlier dismissed on an unopposed motion for summary judgment.

It’s primarily a general damages wrongful death case, as Ms. Steadman was a stay-at-home mother, and had been so for years before her death. Medical expenses are $27,000. The heirs are Audra’s husband, David, and her four children.

Counsel: Bret Hanna and Rebecca Ann Royer, Wrona Gordon & Dubois for plaintiffs; Kurt Frankenburg and Greg SoderbergLitchfield Cavo for defendants. The insurance carrier is UMIA.

Trial is expected to last until February 21, with gaps. (See this trial calendar from the court.)

Utah wrongful death attorney