Testimony Continues in Chaz Higgs Trial in Reno - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Testimony Continues in Chaz Higgs Trial in Reno

Kellene Stockwell
Channel 2 News
 

"Sir if I could draw your attention to July 8, 2006. Were you on duty at that time?"

"Yes, sir I was."

The first paramedic on scene the morning Chaz Higgs called for help took the stand Wednesday in Reno. Benjamin Pratt said the former critical care nurse waited on the sidewalk in front of the couple's Reno home.

He recalled Higgs' demeanor. "Not nonchalant. But not urgent-yanking-on-your-sleeve-screaming-yelling."

"Do you think after having 22 years of experience you might have a different demeanor? We do know you weren't a medic in the military - a battlefield medic."

"No sir."

CPR protocol was also brought to the forefront. Pratt says putting a patient on a hard surface is best, but he found the 50-year-old still lying in bed even though Higgs claims he started CPR.

"You're aware Ms. Augustine weighed 190 pounds, so lifting 190 pounds of dead weight is pretty difficult."

"I'm trained to do it so I don't think so."

Registered Nurse Marlene Swanbeck was also on shift that day. She took Augustine's urine sample to figure out what was wrong and sent it in for screening.

She also worked with Higgs. "I always felt a little suspicious something just wasn't right."

She says Higgs walked in while she was working on his wife and explained in great detail what happened.

"What was his demeanor?"

"He acted like it was just another day."

By the way Swanbeck also testified that around 20 of her co-workers at South Meadows were fired for HIPAA violations pertaining to this case.

After Augustine was transported to the hospital, a cardiologist performed an angiogram on her heart. Dye is pumped into the arteries to determine if there's a blockage.

Dr. Stanley Thompson said Augustine's arteries were perfect. However, he said the heart muscle should work vigorously as far as contracting and Augustine's heart did not.

He said while most heart pumps out 70-80% of the blood received; hers only pumped out 23%. "Sometimes you see that when someone hasn't had any oxygen for awhile. That's basically almost a dead heart."

The defense pointed out Augustine had a heart abnormality called mitral valve regurgitation essentially that means her heart leaked a bit.

The defense confirmed however, it could, although not likely, lead to a sudden cardiac death.

Lastly, a pulmonologist testified he doesn't think succinylcholine injected Augustine's buttock would kill her.

Court proceedings will continue Thursday morning.  

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