Murder trial Day 7: Daughter, surgeon testify on downturn, death of alleged Davis victim Ronald Clark
TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Witness testimony continued today in the trial of a former East Texas nurse accused of injecting air into patients arterial lines, killing four and leaving more with serious brain damage.
The jury heard testimony Wednesday about Ronald Clark, who died less than 48 hours after heart surgery.
“He was a good father, a good husband,” said Tiffany Farmacka.
Farmacka, the daughter of Ronald Clark, took the stand Wednesday. Clark was in Tyler on July 25, 2017 for heart surgery.
“He had been having some pain in his hip and legs and they contributed that to a blocked artery in his legs and so he was just coming for abdominal bypass just to increase the flow to his legs,” Farmacka said.
Clark’s doctors said his surgery went well and expected him to recover.
“He was hoping for a success on that so he could get back to his gardening, riding his motorcycle, you know, enjoying his life,” Farmacka said.
Just after midnight on July 26, 2017, nurse Cody Henson said he discovered Clark’s heart rate was in the forties. He was crashing. Clark’s surgeon who operated on him the day before came back to the hospital.
“Was there any evidence of an extended period of hypotension causing any problems during surgery?” the prosecution asked Dr. Todd Bengtson.
“”No, it’s not recorded and not to my recollection. Again, this was a very routine surgery that went very well,” Bengtson responded.
Doctors examined Clark for anything done during surgery that could have caused his condition to suddenly deteriorate.
“Was his abdomen tight like he had bleeding? No. How was the blood flow to his leg? It was good, both legs. So there didn’t appear to be any complication regarding my surgery,” Bengtson said.
As Clark’s daughter tearfully testified Wednesday, her father’s alleged killer appeared to look down as she described the devastation her family faced following Clark’s death.
“My dad was brain dead and none of us understood what happened, how it could happen,” Farmacka said.
The trial will continue Thursday at 8:30 a.m.
2:18 p.m. - Dr. Todd Bengtson, peripheral vascular surgeon, took the stand.
Bengston said Clark was experiencing pain when he walked which led to him needing the surgery. Bengtson says there were no complications during surgery on July 25th, 2017.
Bengtson said he expected Clark to make a full recovery. He arrived to the hospital after midnight on July 26 to respond to Clark’s unexplained sudden decline in health.
11:44 a.m. - Cody Henson, who worked as a RN at CHRISTUS, was called to the stand.
Henson was working the night shift when Clark was in CVICU after surgery.
On July 26, 2017 just after midnight, Henson discovered Clark’s heart rate was in the 40s.
The next witness, Dr. Chandra Reddy-Navuluri, helped treat Clark. She said after midnight on July 27, Clark was pronounced dead.
Teresa Meeks, who testified last week, took the stand. She said Jesus Serrano was in room 302. William Davis was covering 306 and 307.
9:46 a.m. - Dr. Rigoberto Ramirez, and anesthesiologist at CHRISTUS, was called to the stand.
Ramirez monitored Clark’s vital signs during his heart surgery and said the surgery went as well as it could.
Clark was extubated and taken to a recovery room on the CVICU floor (Cardiovascular intensive care unit).
Defense Attorney Phillip Hayes questioned how well Dr. Ramirez remembers working with Clark.
Dr. Joseph Kurian, another anesthesiologist at CHRISTUS, came to the stand.
Kurian said Clark was breathing on his own and was said to be doing well post-surgery.
Clark’s charts showed no brain damage occurred during surgery. He said they would have been able to detect any damage immediately.
The seventh day of the trial for a former East Texas nurse accused of killing patients during his time working at a Tyler heart hospital got underway Wednesday.
William Davis, 37, of Hallsville, is accused of injecting air into the arterial lines of patients at a Tyler heart hospital. Davis was arrested in April 2018.
Tiffany Farmacka, the daughter of Ronald Clark, took the stand Wednesday morning. Clark is a suspected victim of Davis who died.
Farmacka said Clark was 68 when he came to Tyler for heart surgery. She said she talked to her father on the phone after surgery and everything went fine with the surgery.
Farmacka said when she arrived at the hospital, her father was brain dead.
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