Alleged Victims of Convicted Former Nurse Testify Hardships Caused by Brain Injury | criminality
For decades, James Wages has taken the stage as an international world champion impersonating Elvis Presley performing in places like Mexico, Canada and Sweden.
Since his brain was damaged in an unexplained neurological event while recovering from heart surgery in Tyler, Wages cannot walk and he has trouble remembering a lot of information.
Now seated in a wheelchair, Wages testified in court on Friday as one of five victims’ attorneys claims former medic William George Davis attempted to kill in 2017.
Davis, 37, of Hallsville, who worked at Christus Trinity Mother Frances Louis and Peaches Owen Heart Hospital, was convicted on Tuesday of injecting air into arterial systems and causing the death of John Lafferty, Ronald Clark, Christopher Greenaway and Joseph Kalina.
The sentencing phase, which began on Wednesday, continued on Friday. The jury is charged with choosing between life imprisonment without parole or the death penalty.
Smith County District Attorney Jacob Putman told jurors on Wednesday the state would prove Davis also killed patients Perry Frank, James Sanders and James Blanks and attempted to kill Gary Parker, Pamela Henderson, Rickie Glenn, Wages and Jesus Serrano.
In 2018, Davis was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in connection with the injuries to Parker, Henderson, Glenn and Wages.
Wages said he remembered waking up from a long coma and didn’t know what happened to him.
“I did not see. I saw black. I have serious brain damage because of it, and there are things that I remember and things that I do not remember,” said Wages.
He told the jury that his voice came back after therapy. Due to paralysis on his left side, Wages said he was unable to walk.
He added that his peripheral vision is “destroyed”.
âI can’t read,â Wages said. “My brain doesn’t understand words.”
Cardiovascular ICU nurse Dianna Kidwell remembers being Wages’ nurse and they were both Elvis fans.
She said Wages planned to sing a song to her when she was released from the hospital. She testified that his speech was clear when he woke up from the surgery.
The next day, she found out he had had a stroke overnight and said he was a whole different person. Wages couldn’t sing to her when he left, Kidwell said.
A doctor who reviewed Wages’ records said Thursday that his brain damage was the result of an intentional injection of air into the arterial system.
Dr Benjamin Krog, cardiac anesthetist for Wages ‘surgery, said he made sure there was no air in Wages’ arterial line before the surgery and there was no risk of stroke.
Parker also took the floor to discuss rehabilitation and the difficulties he faced after his unexplained neurological event in 2017 while recovering from surgery.
Parker, who lives in Louisiana, said he came to Tyler’s home for heart surgery because he was promised he could return to work in three weeks. His career has been in the creation of decorative concrete for 25 years.
He remembers being taken from Tyler in an ambulance to Louisiana, where he spent 45 days in a hospital for rehabilitation.
He testified that he had to relearn to walk as the stroke-like event hit both sides of his body. He said it took him about a month before doctors could get him to stand and walk.
âIt’s been a long road to recovery. I spent two and a half years in rehab,â Parker said. “I can’t walk very far without having something to lean against.”
Before coming to Tyler for surgery, Parker testified that he was 57 and weighed 190 pounds. Since leaving the hospital, he said he had “exploded” to 250 pounds and could no longer work as before.
Dr Christopher Lowe, anesthesiologist at Christus, testified that Parker’s heart surgery was routine and he appeared to be recovering well. There was no indication that an unexplained event would occur.
Records later showed that Parker’s complications were caused by air being injected into the arterial system.
Michelle Cazarez, a registered nurse in the cardiovascular ICU and assigned nurse at Parker, said that before her unexplained neurological event, Parker spoke and moved her hands.
After she left for a few minutes, she came back to see him in distress. She said he was not in the same condition.
Glenn, from Henderson, recalled that he came to his doctor for a routine appointment and due to abnormalities and was taken to Christus TMF in Tyler. Her next memory was leaving the hospital for drug rehab.
âI was told I would never walk again,â he said.
Glenn, who had a career as a welder before his surgery, said he could no longer weld.
âI can’t control my hands. I have a hard time grasping (and) holding things. I do almost everything with my right hand,â Glenn said. “Everything is different now. I don’t take anything for granted anymore.”
On Thursday, a doctor testified that Glenn’s brain damage was caused by air being injected into his arterial system.
Krog testified that Glenn was in good shape before the surgery and that he did not have any serious illnesses that could cause concern. He said Glenn seemed to tolerate the anesthesia well and had certainly had routine surgery.
Cazarez, who was Glenn’s nurse, told the jury that he was doing very well until she used the bathroom. He was in distress when she returned and his heartbeat was totally different.
She testified that she asked Davis to watch Glenn while he was away. Cazarez said she had no concerns about Davis’ ability as a cardiac recovery nurse and that she trusted him.
Jeff Roberts, a Tyler Police Department detective, returned to testify on part of a recorded 2018 phone call with Davis, in which they discussed Wages, Glenn, Frank and Parker.
Roberts testified during the interview, Davis did not recall any information about the incidents of these patients. Davis spoke of a patient who had an incident that ultimately resulted in a good outcome.
The detective testified that this was an example of another deviation he saw in other parts of their conversation.
Testimony will continue on Tuesday and sentencing deliberations could begin on Wednesday.