Surgeon should help pay $18m medical lawsuit

Posted On:   19 March 2018

Trinidad & Tobago – 30th January, 2018: A private medical institution is seeking to have the surgeon, who operated on the husband of former finance minister Karen Nunez-Tesheira, pay a percentage of the $18 million medical negligence judgment over his death.

Lawyers representing Gulf View Medical Centre yesterday presented submissions in its appeal over the decision of High Court Judge Frank Seepersad to dismiss its case against urologist Dr Lester Goetz in November, last year.

Seepersad’s decision was based on the fact that Gulf View failed to raise Goetz’s alleged contributory negligence in Nunez-Tesheira’s substantive lawsuit and sought to do so after it had lost the case in 2015.

Insurance executive Russell Tesheira died at age 54 after undergoing a transurethral resectioning of the prostate operation at the Gulf View Medical Centre on April 13, 2004.

Goetz was removed as a defendant in the substantive case on September 21, 2012, after he came to a $2 million out-of-court settlement with Nunez-Tesheira.

British Queen’s Counsel Mary O’Rourke yesterday submitted that her client’s move was legitimate as it had two years from the date of the judgment to do so.

O’Rourke claimed her client was being held liable for Tesheria’s death when the medical centre merely provided the facilities for his operation in 2004.

Goetz’s lawyer, Christopher Hamel-Smith, SC, resisted the application as he agreed with Seepersad that it should have been raised at an earlier stage.

He also questioned why similar proceedings were not brought against anesthesiologist, Dr Crisen Roopchand, who also operated on Tesheira and was listed as a defendant in the negligence claim.

O’Rourke opposed the argument as she pointed out that Roopchand was not removed from the lawsuit and judgment was delivered against both him and Gulf View.

After hearing the submissions, Appellate Judges Nolan Bereaux, Gregory Smith and Prakash Moosai, reserved their decision on whether to reinstitute the claim against Goetz.