Ashland doctors liable for more than $400,000 in girl's death

Two Ashland doctors found liable for the death of a 16-year-old girl at Ashland Community Hospital in 2002 will pay $444,000 to the girl’s estate.

Payment of the award will be split equally between Drs. Paul Rostykus and John Delgado. Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Mark Schiveley today also ordered them to reimburse Katrina Son for $5,314 — her cost to bring the case to trial.

A Circuit Court jury on June 20 awarded $740,000 to the estate of Sara Joy Burnson. But the jury’s verdict that Burnson and her father also were liable in her drug overdose reduced the amount Rostykus and Delgado each had to pay.

Burnson bore 25 percent of the blame for her fatal irregular heartbeat caused by ingesting cocaine and the prescription narcotic Propacet, jurors said. The jury found Burnson’s father, David Burns, bore 15 percent of the fault. Rostykus and Delgado were each 30 percent liable.

Rostykus and Delgado, jurors said, failed to know or discover what medications Burnson had ingested and failed to treat the drugs’ delayed effects in a timely manner. Burnson died in ACH’s intensive-care unit about six hours after arriving at the hospital’s emergency room with her father.

— Sarah Lemon

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