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Woman's family sues hospital over brain damage claim

Katina Clark's family is suing the Medical Center of Arlington for brain damage sustained while hospitalized.
Family members allege errors by the staff at at Medical Center of Arlington resulted in permanent brain damage for Katina Clark.

For Caden Clark, his two kids and his mother-in-law, trips to the park these days are missing one key family member: Katina Clark.

"Katina was such a bubbly person," Caden Clark said. "Beautiful on the outside and on the inside."

The 29-year-old was a long-time nurse at the Medical Center of Arlington. In the summer of 2013 she developed a serious but survivable neurological condition resulting in temporary paralysis. She was admitted to the hospital where she worked.

"She felt extremely comfortable there. She had been there for eight years," her husband said.

In a lawsuit filed Wednesday, the family said the Medical Center of Arlington and the medical staff that worked on her made a series of errors inserting and maintaining a breathing tube in Clark's neck.

At one point, the family says, the tube fell out for 30 minutes, depriving Clark of oxygen and causing permanent brain damage.

"We know that she was aware; and here's somebody that knows that something has happened... and she can't cry out. She can't push a button. She can't do anything for herself," said Kathy Trammel, Katina's mother.

Attorney Chris Hamilton is representing the family in the lawsuit. "There were five things that had to go wrong for this to happen," he said. "If any one of them was done right, this wouldn't happen."

Medical Center of Arlington issued this statement on Wednesday:

"Our hearts go out to Katina Clark and her entire family. Katina has been part of our Medical Center Arlington family and served her patients and colleagues with professionalism and compassion for almost 9 years. While we dispute the allegations, we certainly empathize with her family."

Katina Clark currently lives at a nursing home. Caden checks on her every other day while working full-time and raising the kids.

The family attorney says if Katina lives another 40 years, she could require $20 million in round-the-clock care.

"If it could happen to Katina — supposedly one of them — everybody [at the hospital] loved her. If they wouldn't watch for her, being so dependent on someone, what could happen to the next person?" Caden Clark asked.