The Madison County Record Dec. 23, 2014, 7:31am

A brain-damaged man is dependent on permanent nursing care after doctors allegedly failed to monitor his vital signs while he was receiving intravenous medication.

Madelyn Charnas filed a lawsuit Dec. 12 in Madison County Circuit Court against Alton Memorial Hospital.

In her complaint, Madelyn Charnas alleges her husband, James Charnas, was admitted to the hospital Jan. 1, 2013, with a fistula and bowel obstruction.

"Throughout his stay, James Charnas was on oxygen and on Jan. 17, 2013, Charnas was receiving Dilaudid per PCA pump," the suit states. "At that time he had been complaining of weakness and not being able to eat over the previous two days."

On Jan. 18, 2013, Charnas appeared drowsy, weak and confused, the complaint says. Madelyn Charnas alleges her husband also was suffering from garbled speech and disorientation.

In turn, James Charnas was transferred to ICU and was seen by two doctors regarding his altered mental state, according to the complaint.

He eventually was discharged from the hospital but was diagnosed with brain damage due to the Dilaudid he had been receiving via the pump, the suit states. James Charnas currently lives in a nursing home full time and requires constant nursing care, the suit states.

Because of the incident, Charans incurred medical costs, experienced severe pain and suffering, lost his enjoyment of life and continues to receive medical treatment, the complaint says.

Madelyn Charnas blames the hospital for causing James Charnas' injuries, saying it negligently failed to properly monitor Charnas, failed to seek an order for continuous pulse oximetry, failed to take her husband's vital signs and failed to properly program the PCA pump.

Madelyn Charnas seeks compensatory damages, plus costs.

Attorney Erin M. Phillips of Unsell, Schattnik and Phillips in Wood River will represent Madelyn Charnas.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 14-L-1691.

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