Wednesday, April 25, 2018
News Roundup

Lawsuit alleges doctors misdiagnosed former Tampa councilwoman Helen Chavez before her 2014 death

TAMPA — The daughter of the late Helen Chavez, a Tampa restaurateur and former city council member, is suing the doctors who treated her mother just before her 2014 death, alleging they failed to adequately diagnose a life-threatening heart condition.

Denise Chavez filed the lawsuit last week in Hillsborough Circuit Court. It alleges that Dr. Christine Torres and Kimberly Gore, a physician assistant, were negligent in their assessment and treatment of a skin condition Helen Chavez exhibited shortly before her death.

On July 23, 2014, Helen Chavez visited Torres and Gore at a South Tampa medical office. She complained of a swelling of the skin of her lips, known as angioedema, and a reddening and irritation inside her mouth, known as erythema, according to the complaint.

The doctors knew that Chavez had been prescribed Rampiril, a medication used to treat high blood pressure. They also knew that angioedema and erythema were among the drug's side effects, according to the complaint.

Nevertheless, the complaint states, the doctors diagnosed Chavez' condition as an allergic reaction, likely to mangos or salmon. They sent her home with a prescription for Benadryl without telling her to stop taking the Rampiril, according to the complaint.

The same day, Chavez' condition worsened. Emergency personnel later rushed her to Tampa General Hospital, where she was admitted to the intensive care unit.

A week later, Chavez was still hospitalized. A cardiologist told her family that she was suffering from congestive heart failure made worse by the angioedema.

On Aug. 2, Chavez was sent home. That morning, she died. She was 89.

The lawsuit alleges that Torres and Gore should have recognized Chavez' condition as a side effect of the medication but failed to do so. The medical practice for which they work, GMS Bayside Physicians, is named as a co-defendant in the complaint.

A receptionist who answered the phone at the South Tampa practice Tuesday said Torres was away on medical leave and had not visited the clinic in two years. She could not be reached elsewhere. Gore did not immediately return a call for comment.

Helen Chavez served as a Republican member of the Tampa City Council from 1979 to 1987. As an elected official, she was known for championing historic preservation, the revival of Hyde Park and efforts to tone down fan misconduct at Tampa Bay Buccaneers games.

She ran for mayor in 1987 but lost to Sandy Freedman. She tried to return to the city council in 1995 but lost to current Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn.

As a businesswoman, she ran several popular Tampa restaurants, including Royal, Chavez Windows on the Park, and the Tea Room in Old Hyde Park.

Contact Dan Sullivan at [email protected] or (813) 226-3386. Follow @TimesDan.

Comments
Carlos Gomez says he was guilty of only one thing in Sunday’s epic walkoff homer celebration

Carlos Gomez says he was guilty of only one thing in Sunday’s epic walkoff homer celebration

BALTIMORE – Carlos Gomez is perfectly willing to explain the specific elements that went into his epic celebration tour around the bases following Sunday's walkoff home run.The bat flip and raised arms were his initial reaction to how well he h...
Updated: 2 hours ago

High school scoreboard for April 24

Tuesday’s scoreboardBaseballCalvary Chr. 8, Jesuit 1Boys TennisClass 3A, District 9-10 Regional Semifinal: Osceola 4, King 1Girls TennisClass 3A, District 9-10 Regional Semifinal: Osceola 4, Freedom 1...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Days before graduation, crash kills Lakewood High senior, injures two others

Days before graduation, crash kills Lakewood High senior, injures two others

ST. PETERSBURG — Caps and gowns were in the future for Bryson Welton-Williams and his two friends.Then came Tuesday’s horrific car crash.The three 18-year-old Lakewood High School seniors drove off from school a few minutes early, just 22 days away f...
Updated: 5 hours ago
SRO being investigated in Pasco County for arrest of student

SRO being investigated in Pasco County for arrest of student

LAND O’LAKES — A school resource officer at Sunlake High School is under investigation after he tried to take a female student into custody on Tuesday, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.School officials asked the SRO remove the student f...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Teen killed after SUV runs red light; man who fled scene captured

Teen killed after SUV runs red light; man who fled scene captured

NEW PORT RICHEY — A 17-year-old girl was killed Tuesday when her car was hit by a sport-utility vehicle that ran a red light, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.One of the occupants of the SUV who ran from the crash scene was captured hours late...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Softball: Haley Murphy, East Bay back in top form

Softball: Haley Murphy, East Bay back in top form

PLANT CITY — East Bay senior Haley Murphy had to take a few games off early this season to give the flaring tendinitis in her left knee a rest.When Murphy did come back around midseason, East Bay coach Glenn Rodriguez eased her into the fl...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Sarasota student, family apologize for racist ‘promposal’

Sarasota student, family apologize for racist ‘promposal’

The family of the 18-year-old Sarasota high school student under fire for the racist prom proposal he sent out on social media this weekend has publicly apologized for their son’s actions.They also said that as a result of his actions, he will not at...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Softball: Boca Ciega gets a shot at defending district champ

DUNEDIN — Standing in centerfield during her team's Class 6A-9 district semifinal Tuesday night, Boca Ciega's Mia Blasingane had one dominating thought: "We want Tarpon Springs real bad. I was saying that to myself. I want to see Tarpon Springs...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Softball: Alonso knocks off defending state finalist PHU in 9A-8 semifinals

PALM HARBOR — To get an idea of just how tough the competition is in Class 9A, District 8, consider that there has been a different tournament champion each of the past three seasons.All three — Newsome (2015), Alonso (2016) and Palm Harb...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Rays Journal: On the early rainout, pitching plans, medical matters, more

Rays Journal: On the early rainout, pitching plans, medical matters, more

BALTIMORE – If the Rays were going to get rained out Tuesday, they were happy  the Orioles made the decision at a good hour, around 5 p.m."I think they probably did the right thing in the fact that they knew there's a bunch of rain coming,...
Updated: 5 hours ago