The death of a loved one can be unbelievably hard to bear, especially when it is sudden and unexpected. But what if your loved one’s remains were desecrated so that you couldn’t have final closure? Unfortunately, that was the experience of one woman who finally received justice for her husband’s untimely death. Specifically, jurors recently awarded a Texas widow $1 million against a Caty hospital after she discovered that her husband was buried without his heart.
Linda Carswell sued Christus Catherine Hospital for the wrongful death of her husband, former state champion track coach, Jerry Carswell, as well as the mishandling of his body proceeding his death. Mr. Carswell, age 61, stayed two nights in the hospital in early 2004 because of kidney stones. However, he died on January 22, 2004 after he was injected with narcotics. Carswell was promised an autospy of her husband’s body, but the hospital destroyed the evidence to cover up the cause of his death. As a result, jurors ruled that Mrs. Carswell was defrauded and decided to punish the hospital with a verdict of four times the Texas law damages cap. In addition, in 2008 the State District Judge Elizabeth Ray fined the hospital for $250,000 for destroying blood samples that could’ve revealed the cause of Mr. Carswell’s death.
Mrs. Carswell did not know about her husband’s missing heart until 18 months into litigation. Even now, six years later, his heart is still missing. It is her goal to retrieve his heart so that it can be buried with the rest of his remains.