Settlement talks unfruitful in death suit against Basalt doctor |

Settlement talks unfruitful in death suit against Basalt doctor

Rick Carroll
The Aspen Times

A Basalt orthopedist is fighting civil allegations that his negligence led to the death of a Carbondale man.

Pitkin County District Court is the venue for Ursula Ayers’ lawsuit that accuses Dr. Thomas Moore of having a role in the death of Hans Ayers, her son. Hans Ayers, who once worked for the Pitkin County Roads and Bridges Department, died Dec. 18, 2012, at Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs. He was 48.

Ursula Ayers sued Moore in April 2014, claiming that her son abruptly died because Moore failed to recognize his fatal medical conditions.

On Friday, a status conference was held with presiding District Judge Daniel Petre. A trial previously had been scheduled for June, but it tentatively has been set to begin Nov. 3, said Denver attorney David Dansky, who represents Ursula Ayers.

Mediation has not been successful, and “Moore will not give consent to settle with the plaintiff,” wrote the physician’s attorney, Kim Childs of Delta, in an April 1 pleading.

In a Jan. 23-dated affidavit, Moore stood by his treatment of Hans Ayers.

“My medical care, including my Dec. 17, 2012, examination of Mr. Ayers, was at all times appropriate and within the standard care for orthopedics under the circumstances present in this case,” Moore said.

Hans Ayers went under Moore’s care Nov. 6, 2012, at Grand River Medical Center in Rifle as the result of a work-related accident, according to the lawsuit.

Moore repaired a ruptured tendon in Hans Ayers’ left knee, and two weeks later on Nov. 20, the doctor placed the leg into a full-leg cylinder cast, the suit says.

Hans Ayers returned for a follow-up examination Dec. 17, at which time Moore told him to remove his cast at his home and return to the doctor’s office in two days.

At 7:22 a.m. on Dec. 18, Hans Ayers died at Valley View Hospital after being taken there because he was having difficulty breathing, the suit says.

The cause of his death was a blood clot — called “deep venous thrombosis” in clinical terms — in the deep veins of Hans Ayers’ left leg.

“Reasonably careful orthopedic surgeons know that DVT (deep venous thrombosis) is a potential complication of orthopedic surgery on the legs,” the suit says.

The suit also says that “a reasonably careful orthopedic surgeon would not have permitted Mr. Ayers to remove his own cast at home.”

Moore’s affidavit counters that Hans Ayers had not reported his history of clotting problems.

“Mr. Ayers reported no conditions which would have suggested he had a heightened risk for deep-vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism. … Nothing that Mr. Ayers reported to me in conjunction with his 2012 treatment suggested that Mr. Ayers had any such problems,” the affidavit says.

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