A doctor testified Wednesday that Jeffrey Place Rehabilitation Center employees hastened the death of a 79-year-old Waco man by failing to properly care for an infected toe.

Greg H. Byrd, the son of Homer Gallagher Byrd, who died a month after being admitted to Jeffrey Place, 820 Jeffrey St., is suing the health care center on wrongful death and negligence claims.

The trial of the lawsuit started Monday in Waco’s 414th State District Court and is expected to continue through Friday.

Byrd’s attorneys, Jack Modesett and Vic Feazell, called Dr. Loren Lipson, a geriatric specialist from California, as an expert witness Wednesday. The doctor told jurors that Jeffrey Place officials breached the ordinary standard of care by failing to notice and treat an infection on Byrd’s big toe until it turned black, had a foul odor and was 4 centimeters by 5 centimeters.

Byrd, a diabetic on dialysis, already had toes amputated on his left foot, so the nursing center should have been keenly aware of his circulatory issues, Lipson said.

Byrd’s family is claiming Jeffrey Place caregivers should have not allowed the pressure sore to develop and to become infected, that they failed to notice it in a timely manner and then failed to seek prompt treatment for Byrd.

The toe was gangrenous, which led to Byrd’s right leg being amputated near his knee and, ultimately, to his death in November 2015, the family alleges.

Lee Cameron, who represents Jeffrey Place, declined comment Wednesday about the trial.

Lipson said Jeffrey Place employees also failed Byrd by not notifying a doctor soon enough and by not immediately transferring him to a hospital.

Staff writer at the Waco Tribune-Herald covering courts and criminal justice. Follow me on Twitter @TSpoonFeed.

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