Statement on Carswell Case
We understand that it is always difficult to lose a loved one and deeply sympathize with Mrs. Carswell.
However, the jury unanimously rejected Mrs. Carswell’s claim that CHRISTUS St. Catherine’s care for Mr. Carswell was inappropriate or was related in any way to Mr. Carswell’s sudden death.
The Carswell family desired an autopsy, and one was performed by an experienced, independent pathologist. It is important to note that the independent pathologist retained only a tissue sample from Mr. Carswell’s heart for further study, and not the whole heart, pursuant to Mrs. Carswell’s written consent. The jury unanimously found that CHRISTUS and the independent pathologist who performed the autopsy did not improperly retain any organ or portion of any organ from Mr. Carswell’s body.
When the district court case was appealed, the Court of Appeals agreed that the heart tissue sample was potentially material evidence in the event that a new trial was granted. However, now that the appeals court has rendered its opinion, it found that the heart tissue sample was no longer potentially material to Mrs. Carswell’s claim. The court also lifted its own stay order regarding the tissue sample. CHRISTUS St. Catherine is not filing any further motions relating to the sample of Mr. Carswell’s heart tissue, which has been in the custody of a hospital unaffiliated with CHRISTUS Health since 2006.
The remaining issue regarding the circumstances of Mrs. Carswell’s consent for the autopsy will be appealed to the Texas Supreme Court as we continue to believe that Texas law and the evidence presented at trial support our position on this issue.
We believe that our care and concern for the Carswell family has been apparent at all times, and we at CHRISTUS St. Catherine will continue devoting our resources to fulfilling our mission of compassionate care to our patients and our community in their times of need.