Ashland mom’s suit against doctors goes to jury

Jurors are weighing two physicians’ responsibility in the alleged wrongful death of a 16-year-old girl at Ashland Community Hospital in 2002.

Attorneys delivered closing arguments this morning in Katrina Son’s suit against Drs. Paul Rostykus and John Delgado. Son’s daughter, Sara Joy Burnson, died May 12, 2002, after taking the prescription painkiller Propacet, which was not prescribed to her. She also had used cocaine within the previous day or two, the doctors testified.

During the 12-day trial, jurors heard of Burnson’s fatal heart arrhythmia approximately six hours after her father brought her to the hospital’s emergency room. Propacet, a mild narcotic, poses “unique” cardiac risks, Delgado testified Friday. He told the court, however, that he did not believe the drug caused Burnson’s symptoms when he examined her in the hospital’s intensive-care unit.

Jurors also heard testimony of attempts by Burnson’s family to supply Rostykus with the pill bottles they believe were linked to her overdose. The hospital’s emergency-room physician, Rostykus testified Thursday that he had no memory of seeing any pill bottles.

Son is seeking a judgment of $2.2 million against the doctors, alleging they failed to know or discover what medications Burnson had ingested and failed to treat the drugs’ delayed effects in a timely manner.

— Sarah Lemon

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