Families sue hospital over infant deaths

By Jonathan Martinez - Anchor/Reporter

CLEAR LAKE, Texas - Two families are dealing with the same type of grief: Losing a child shortly after they were born.

"When we walked up, her heart rate actually went up. I think she knew we were there but I could tell just by looking at her that she was gone," said Marie Martinez, who lost her daughter Zoey.

"It's something that you live with for a lifetime. When you lose a child, it's not over tomorrow," said Susan Gonzales, who lost her son Joseph.

Both Zoey and Joseph were born prematurely by about two to three months, but their families maintained hope.

"I mean, she was doing fairly well. She came out swinging, you know, she was a fighter the whole time she was there," Martinez said.

But each of the families believes  there were more than just complications associated with a newborn arriving early; they say the hospital caring for them is responsible for their untimely deaths.

Both children were born at Clear Lake Regional Medical Center.

The families said they feel more could've been done by doctors and staff before each child passed away less than a month after being born.

"It's something that you think you'll never go through and you pray you'll never go through and you pray that other people won't go through," said Ernesto Martinez, Zoey's dad.

The hospital, several doctors and others have been named in a wrongful death lawsuit by the families, alleging the management of care was "below the acceptable standards of care and constituted negligence and gross negligence."

Also listed in the lawsuit: "negligent evaluation, treatment and or management."

"They need to change their procedures and cultures, the way that they do things," said Michael Gonzales, Joseph's dad.

Clear Lake Regional Medical Center released the following statement:

"Complications affecting babies that are born prematurely are emotional and tragic to all involved. We extend our deepest sympathies to the families. We look forward to all the facts emerging as the legal process allows."

"If we can do anything to prevent that from happening (to) even one more couple, then that's what we're looking for," Ernesto Martinez said.

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