Editor's note: Dr. Louis Elkins was the second witness for the
introduce yourself to the jury.
Elkins: My name
is Dr. Louis Elkins and I moved to Houston from Corpus Christi one
exactly do you do?
Elkins: I do
cardiovascular surgery on adults as well as children.
long did you work in Corpus Christi?
Elkins: For 1
1/2 years also as a pediatric and adult cardiovascular surgeon. My
responsibilities included covering the emergency room and a trauma
area, where the sickest patients go.
many trauma sections are there?
Skurka: Tell us
Elkins: I am an
undergraduate at University of Arkansas in medicine, University of
Arkansas in cardiovascular and Boston, totaling 11 years of
schooling. I have been licensed to practice medicine since 1986 and
have a Board Certificate in Surgery for 6 months.
March 31, 1995, did you respond to a call for Selena Quintanilla
Elkins: I was
called by the emergency at Memorial Hospital. I doctored over the
care for Ms. Perez. The injury was a chest injury.
was her condition when you got there?
Elkins: She had
no evidence of any blood flow to her brain. I examined the most
deepest function of the brain, eyes were dilated, not responding to
any light, she had received no medication. Pupils of eyes would not
move. She was not breathing on her own; no vital signs. She had no
response activity. No heart rate.
Skurka: Now the
monitor may show activity but that does not mean the heart is
working does it?
because the monitor picks up the squeezing of the heart which
continues to move even when all other vital signs are dead. Her
chest was open so I could see her heart. Her response was zero and
her pulse was zero.
was happening when you first got there?
was attempting to revive her heart.
you were there, was the doctor successful in trying to get the heart
else did you see?
Elkins: She was
being mechanically ventilated, attempting to establish ways to give
her medication intravenously. Her veins had collapsed.
room doctor was squeezing the heart?
heart was blue and empty of blood. A normal heart looks like a fist,
bright pink or red. It was empty because she had bled so much. Most
of the blood she had in her body, she had lost.
did you do then?
Elkins: I took
over the care of Ms. Perez by putting a clamp against her heart and
injecting medicine into the heart to try to stimulate the heart.
Skurka: At the
time, you said the left side of the chest was open, then what
placing a clamp on her heart it began to beat erratically. Then I
prepared to take her to the operating room.
long had she been treated?
minute transport to the hospital and approximately 20 minutes in the
long can a person live without vital signs?
Elkins: 5 to 6
transported her to the operating room. I made an incision in the
chest so I could locate the area of injury.
was the area of injury?
Elkins: It was
high over the right chest area.
was the condition of the victim?
Elkins: Four to
five liters of blood was lost. It seemed to all be setting in the
right chest area, this does not include blood from veins. This was
probably her entire blood volume.
it be fair to say that all blood came out into this area?
Elkins: No, it
could have come from transfusions.
else did you see?
upper part of the right lung was injured.
Skurka: If she
had survived the regaining of the heart beat, how would she have
Elkins: In my
opinion, brain dead. I tried to stop the blood loss so I could bring
back her heart.
Skurka: Was her
heart ever able to pump on its own?
for seconds at a time. She arrived at the hospital as dead on
Skurka: Did you
make the announcement of her death.
Elkins: Yes at
13:05 p.m. for legal purposes. But clinically she was dead when she
arrived at the hospital.
Judge Mike Westergren: Members
of the jury, we'll be recessed until 1:00 p.m. today.