Jeffrey Bottjen had been plant manager
for Smithfield Foods in Denison
Two years and just more than eight months after it was filed, the Jeffrey Scott Bottjen wrongful death lawsuit was settled out of court on January 2 for a total of $3.5 million.
Named in the suit were Crawford County Memorial Hospital (CCMH), CCMH Medical Clinic, Dr. Michael Thorstenson (a physician at the medical clinic), certified registered nurse anesthetist Blaine Rider and Nurse Anesthesia of North Carolina, PLLC.
The case was dismissed with prejudice, which prohibits it from being brought back to court. A release and indemnity agreement obtained from CCMH lists $1.5 million as the sum against CCMH, CCMH Medical Clinic, Thorstenson and ProAssurance Casualty Company.
Brad Bonner, CCMH executive director of human resources and general counsel, said all of that amount would come from the insurance company.
The document adds that the payment of the $1.5 million does not constitute an admission of liability on the part of any person or entity.
All parties agreed to pay their own costs.
A footnote in the agreement says that Rider and Nurse Anesthesia of North Carolina had reached a separate settlement in the amount of $2 million.
Bottjen, of Ida Grove, was the manager of the Smithfield Foods plant in Denison.
On October 16, 2016, he went to CCMH with a particle of food lodged in his esophagus. He was pronounced dead 78 minutes after a procedure was started to remove the particle. He was 50 years old.
In her petition, Bottjen’s wife, Colleen, claimed that Thorstenson decided to perform an immediate endoscopic procedure to remove the food particle in spite of the known risks apparent from Bottjen’s medical history and in spite of being warned by Rider on multiple occasions of the difficulty and potential risks of performing an esophagogastroduodenoscopy because of his obesity, neck and jaw structure, limited movement and overall medical condition and history.
In a court order dated September 11, 2019, summary judgement was granted regarding the following: any and all negligence claims against the hospital other than a vicarious liability, any and all claims for vicarious liability against Thorstenson based on the alleged negligence of Rider and any claim for punitive damages against the hospital. A punitive damage claim against Thorstenson was taken under advisement according to that order.
The September 11 court order also said summary judgement was granted regarding claims for negligence on behalf of Nurse Anesthesia of North Carolina and the court took under advisement the punitive damage claim against Rider and whether the hospital was vicariously liable for Rider.
The case had been settled for some time, according to a court document filed November 21. The document added that a probate hearing scheduled for December should result in the consummation and conclusion of the case, and a deadline of January 3 was given to dismiss or otherwise resolve the case.