Wichita teacher's family wins $6 million wrongful death lawsuit

Published: Aug. 8, 2019 at 10:35 PM CDT
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Lindsey Perez died about four hours after giving birth to her son, Zander, in October 2015.

Almost four years later, a jury reaches a $6 million verdict, one of the largest wrongful death decisions in Kansas history. Perez was a Wichita middle school teacher whose death, her family's attorney says, was preventable.

Lindsey's husband, Edgar Perez, remembers the day his son was born. It began when Lindsey went to Wesley hospital's emergency room. She was 35 weeks pregnant and having a panic attack. She also had high blood pressure.

The doctors in the ER decided Lindsey needed an emergency C-section. She began struggling hours after Zander's birth.

"That's when she started choking on her own fluid," Edgar says. "I just remember more nurses, doctors came running and they took her to the back and someone said, 'We can't find a pulse. Take the family out.' And they took us out. I don't know how many minutes later, they told us she has passed."

Hours after giving birth, Lindsey told her nurse she was having breathing problems, her family says. Her symptoms, the family now understands, were those of a pulmonary edema. In other words, fluid was building in Lindsey's lungs.

According to the family's wrongful death lawsuit, the registered nurse reported Lindsey's symptoms to the doctor nearly 20 minutes after Lindsey said she was having breathing problems. The family decided to sue Wesley because the nurse did not immediately report Lindsey's symptoms to the doctor.

"Lindsey's death was easily preventable. So the jury saw through all of that and realized, I think early on, that the nurse failed to do her job correctly, and Lindsey died as a result," the family's attorney, Brad Prochaska says.

Edgar says he was angry, but feels sorry for the nurse and "the people at Wesley."

"It was something that (the nurse) didn't know was going to happen," he says.

A Wesley spokesperson says their thoughts are with Lindsey Perez's family, but they stand by the nurse and argue there was no wrongdoing. A jury disagreed.