Wrongful death case gets trial date

Staff Writer

A decade after a former West Point bank teller fell ill, a lawsuit over her death three years later finally has a trial date.

The case brought by Starkville resident Christopher Pollan, as the sole heir and beneficiary of the estate of his late mother, Shirley Pollan, has been described as a "highly complicated" medical case, part of which already has been to the state Supreme Court.

Shirley Pollan died Jan. 18, 2011, 30 months after she was treated by Dr. Andrew Wartak and others at North Mississippi Medical Center-West Point for extremely low sodium levels.

Her son claims doctors and medical professionals increased her sodium levels too quickly.

The doctor, hospital and medical staff have denied any wrong doing in her treatment and argue other factors, including pre-existing conditions, likely played a role.

Suffering a variety of complications, she never was able to return to work at Renasant Bank and died at the age of 55. An autopsy found the cause of death was a medical condition caused by "rapid sodium correction."

Her son filed the lawsuit in January 2013. In November 2015, Clay County Circuit Court Judge Jim Kitchens dismissed part of the lawsuit, saying the statute of limitations in the case had expired for part of Pollan's claims.

In a divided ruling last December, the state Supreme Court upheld that decision but like Kitchens, allowed the remainder of the lawsuit to go forward.
Following an hour-long conference Thursday, attorneys John Montgomery and Alan Lancaster representing Pollan and David Upchurch and John Wheeler representing Wartak, the hospital and the nurses, agreed on a schedule for the case to go to trial.

That includes witnesses for both sides designated by December, all discovery completed by Feb. 1, 2019, a mediation effort to settle the case no later than Feb. 20 with a trial starting April 1, 2019 if the case isn't settled.