Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital paid $ 2 million to the family of a former Montana State University football player who died in the hospital in 2015. The family sued after his death, claiming that his doctors’ negligence resulted in his death.
Sunday marks the sixth anniversary of Eryon Barnett’s death at Bozeman Hospital.
Barnett was hospitalized about two days after arriving at the emergency room. He died on July 4, 2015. He was 24 years old.
Gallatin County Coroner’s Office reported Barnett’s death was due to complications from pancreatitis, but his family claimed an autopsy revealed that Barnett actually died of opioid-induced respiratory depression that resulted in a fatal heart attack.
The lawsuit – filed in 2018 by Bozeman attorneys Casey Magan and Russ Waddell – claim that Barnett’s doctors, Dr. Sarah Donahue and Dr Valium.
In mid-May, the hospital paid Barnett’s mother, Stephanie Mooring, and the mother of Barnett’s child, Sarah Woolard, a $ 2 million judgment. Barnett’s son Beckett is now 8 years old, Waddell said.
The hospital did not accept liability for Barnett’s death under the agreement.
“Bozeman Health continues to express our deepest condolences to Eryon Barnett’s family, young son and friends …” a hospital e-mailed statement to the Chronicle said.
“Bozeman Health believes this decision is in the best interests of all parties, including the future of Mr. Barnett’s son.”
The settlement came a month before the lawsuit was due to be tried by a jury in Gallatin County District Court.
The two accused doctors at the hospital, Hoge and Donahue, are still practicing at Bozeman Health.
When asked if the two doctors faced disciplinary action in connection with Barnett’s death, the hospital wrote, “Bozeman Health supports the care of all of our care providers.”
Barnett had pancreatitis in the last year of his life. Pancreatitis is sudden inflammation of the pancreas, a small organ behind the stomach.
Barnett told his doctors that his pain felt “different” than what he had previously experienced and, according to the lawsuit, was pressing “like bricks” onto his chest.
The lawsuit alleged that Barnett’s doctors treated him for recurrent pancreatitis based on a “false assumption”. It was also alleged that Barnett’s doctors should have done a cardiovascular test to check his heart along with a chest x-ray.
The lawsuit also alleged that the hospital lost or destroyed evidence of the amount of opiates given to Barnett after attorneys indicated their intention to file a lawsuit.
In a written statement, the hospital said these allegations were unfounded.
Prior to his final MSU football season, Barnett missed part of fall training due to complications from pancreatitis. He also missed two games in November and was hospitalized the following March for similar fighting.
According to a press release from his family’s attorney, he was an NFL hopeful and trained to take part in MSU’s “Pro Day” just months before his death.
In an interview, Waddell said the family are open to further litigation related to Barnett’s case. Barnett’s mother said in a press release that she wanted to be criminally responsible for his death.
“What is negligent homicide? Eryon was completely under her control. … The DEA should look into that. The district attorney should look into that, ”Mooring said in the press release. She lives in Texas.