Aspen Valley Hospital, skier settle suit

Rick Carroll
The Aspen Times

Aspen Valley Hospital has settled a lawsuit with a patient who accused the facility of committing medical negligence after he went under its care following a ski accident.

“The hospital has no liability in this matter,” said Denver attorney Aaron Bradford, who represented the hospital in the dispute.

Bradford said terms of the settlement are confidential. He declined to say whether the hospital paid any money to plaintiff Laurence Niles. The parties have until Jan. 28 to make the settlement official, according to court documents.

Former hospital chief surgeon Dr. William Rodman, however, remains a defendant.

Niles, a California resident, sued the hospital and Rodman in February in Denver federal court.

Niles’ lawsuit alleged the hospital and Rodman negligently treated him for injuries he suffered Feb. 17, 2013, from a hit-and-run ski collision at Aspen Highlands. The end result was permanent brain injury to Niles, now in his 80s, the suit says.

Rodman’s attorney, Kim Childs of Delta, has a motion pending that seeks to hold the unidentified skier accountable because the person violated the Colorado Skier Safety Act by skiing recklessly and fleeing the scene after colliding with Niles, who was the downhill skier. Niles’ legal team has countered that the “fact that Mr. Niles was injured on a ski slope did not prevent the defendants from ‘properly diagnosing and surgically treating (his) condition.’”

Niles’ lawsuit says Rodman and hospital staff misdiagnosed him after he was admitted to the hospital. It wasn’t until six days after the crash that he received a head CAT scan and Aspen hospital physicians determined he had brain damage. He was then transported to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction, where he stayed until March 7. Doctors there diagnosed him with intracranial hemorrhage, which is bleeding within the skull.