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Logan surgeon loses malpractice lawsuit, faces two more

Published March 10, 2013 11:45 pm

Courts • Now Logan surgeon must defend his actions in 2 more malpractice lawsuits.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A Logan surgeon has lost the first of three lawsuits leveled against him.

A 1st District Court jury ruled last week that Scott W. Grover committed medical malpractice in connection to the death of 59-year-old Marlene Friedli. The verdict awards almost $1.4 million to Freidli's family — which one of their attorneys believes may be a record in the county for a malpractice lawsuit.

"Most [malpractice] cases are resolved short of a jury trial. Grover was not interested in resolving the case prior to jury trial," said Geoff Haslam, one of three attorneys who represented the Freidli family.

Steve Owens, one of Grover's attorneys, said Sunday that they were "disappointed with the verdict" and were evaluating their options.

On Oct. 28, 2004, Grover performed surgery on Friedli to repair a paraesophageal hernia at Cache Valley Specialty Hospital in Logan. Grover is listed as one of three members of the general surgery staff on the hospital website.

During the operation, Grover inserted a medical instrument into Friedli's throat that he later admitted he had to push and pull to remove, damaging her esophagus, according to the complaint. She suffered fluid buildup in her thorax, but no one ran tests to identify why, the complaint adds.

Friedli started vomiting and suffered extreme pain in her chest after her release. She returned to the hospital on Nov. 8, where doctors drained more fluid, but still no one tested her to find the source, the complaint states. By Nov. 9, hospital staff "finally noticed food-related discharge ... and suspected an esophageal rent or leak," the complaint reads.

She was taken to University Hospital in Salt Lake City and underwent three surgeries in an effort to repair her esophagus, but her condition worsened and she died Dec. 30.

Grover also faces a second medical malpractice trial in federal court beginning March 25. An Idaho man's family alleges that Grover negligently failed to provide proper medical care for him when he went to Logan Regional Hospital for laparoscopic surgery in 2005. He died three days later.

Back in 1st District Court, Grover is also one of five physicians named in a personal injury lawsuit filed in 2011. The complaint alleges that Grover wrongly inserted a device — one meant to connect to a catheter — into a breast-cancer patient undergoing chemotherapy, which allowed drugs to leak into her lung. An eight-day jury trial is scheduled to begin June 4.

mmcfall@sltrib.com

Twitter: @mikeypanda