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Friday 21 September 2018
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$18m award to Nunez-Tesheira, hospital wants doc to pay part

The San Fernando private hospital Gulf View Medical wants the doctor who performed surgery on the husband of former finance minister Karen Nunez-Tesheira to pay a portion of the $18 million judgement brought against it.

Gulf View has appealed the decision of Justice Frank Seepersad last November, when he shut down its claim for urologist Dr Lester Goetz to contribute to the court-ordered compensation for insurance executive Russell Tesheira’s widow.

The former minister and Goetz entered into a settlement on September 21, 2012. The nature of the agreement has not previously been revealed. However, it was said at yesterday’s hearing to be $2 million.

“It is only right we receive compensation from him,” British Queen’s Counsel Mary O’Rourke, who represents Gulf View Medical, submitted before Justices of Appeal Nolan Bereaux, Gregory Smith and Prakash Moosai. The judges have reserved ruling on Gulf View’s application.

The private hospital, in a separate appeal, was also yesterday granted conditional leave to take to the Privy Council its challenge of the local court’s ruling, which found it and anaesthesiologist Dr Crisen Jendra Roopchand liable for the negligence of Tesheira’s death after a prostate operation in 2004.

Attorneys for Gulf View Medical and Nunez-Tesheira will return to court in April to argue for a stay of execution of the order for compensation until the Privy Council determines their challenge. Nunez-Tesheira’s attorneys are resisting the application for the stay, but did not oppose the granting of conditional leave.

In her arguments, O’Rourke said there were statutory provisions which gave the private hospital the right to bring a claim for contributions within two years’ of the court’s judgement on the negligence claim. O’Rourke said Goetz was not an employee of the hospital, nor was he an agent.

“He introduced the patient to us and used our facilities. Gulf View does require those who hold practising privileges to carry indemnity,” she said. In a ruling upheld by the Court of Appeal, Justice Vasheist Kokaram awarded Nunez-Tesheira compensation of $18,034,722.33.

Tesheira, 53, who was also a footballer, died hours after the operation on April 13, 2004 at Gulf View Medical. Nunez-Tesheira alleged that negligence caused her husband’s death. Senior Counsel Douglas Mendes is representing Nunez-Tesheira.

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