July 27, 1995 in City

Pastor Sues Doctor Over Wife’s Death Lawsuit Says ‘Routine’ Exploratory Surgery Led To Infection, Death

By The Spokesman-Review
 

A Baptist pastor whose 38-year-old wife died in January after exploratory surgery is suing the woman’s Spokane obstetrician.

Karen Browning, a Shaw Middle School teacher, developed an infection after Dr. Pamela Silverstein perforated her bowel during a laparoscopic procedure, according to the lawsuit.

She died three days later on Jan. 16.

“It’s a very fairly routine procedure that’s done quite often,” said J. Gregory Casey, the family’s attorney. “They really had no idea she might die of it.”

Casey filed the complaint Tuesday on behalf of Larry Browning, former pastor at North Addison Baptist Church, and Paige Browning, the couple’s 4-year-old daughter.

Karen Browning was in “great health” before the procedure, although she’d been seeing Silverstein for relief from abdominal pain, said Bruce Gore, Casey’s law partner.

Silverstein wanted to look at her abdominal area using a laparoscope - a tube with an optical system often inserted through a small incision.

During the Jan. 13 procedure at Deaconess Medical Center, Silverstein perforated Browning’s bowel, resulting in infection and inflammation of the membrane covering the abdominal wall, according to Casey and the lawsuit.

Browning had follow-up surgery a day later when the pain continued.

Larry Browning was shocked to get word of his wife’s deteriorating condition early Jan. 16, Casey said.

“Thousands of women have this done on an outpatient basis all the time,” he said. “He rushed to the hospital to find her close to death. For his family, it’s been a tragedy.”

Browning has since quit his job as pastor at the north Spokane church and moved to Springfield, Ore.

Silverstein, who works at WomanHealth Inc., is out of town and could not be reached Tuesday or Wednesday for comment.

According to the complaint, damages to the Browning family include:

Anxiety, emotional distress, humiliation, loss of life enjoyment, pain and suffering by Karen Browning.

Loss of support, love and care by Paige and Larry Browning.

Medical and funeral expenses.

Potential future earnings.

Legal fees.

, DataTimes


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