Man files wrongful death suit against tribal surgeons

Apr. 24—A McIntosh County man filed a wrongful death suit against two Cherokee Nation surgeons after his wife died following a colonoscopy procedure.

Jerry McBurnett, the surviving spouse of Linda McBurnett, filed the suit in Cherokee County District Court on April 18 against John Alston Jr., M.D. and Eric Engles, M.D., both of whom work at W.W. Hastings Hospital in Tahlequah.

According to the petition, Linda McBurnett, 65, went to the tribal hospital April 21, 2022, for a colonoscopy. The suit alleges that during the procedure, Alston, assisted by Engles, "negligently and in breach of the standards of care," perforated Mrs. McBurnett's bowel. This, the plaintiff said, led to perforated diverticula, pelvic abscess, sepsis, pain, suffering "and ultimately wrongful death."

The plaintiff claims the defendants "breached their duties and failed to treat Mrs. McBurnett, according to the accepted standards of care."

McBurnett is seeking a judgement in excess of $75,000, as well as punitive damages in excess of $75,000. He is represented by Smith Barkett Law Group of Tulsa.