Mother sues Alton Memorial over son's head injury care

Steve Gonzalez Jan. 18, 2006, 6:06am

Alton Memorial Hospital

Helen Gray filed a medical malpractice suit against Alton Memorial Hospital on behalf of her son, Robert Ewing, alleging the hospital failed to properly diagnose his head injury.

According to the complaint filed Jan. 5, Ewing was involved in an altercation on March 10, 2005, and was treated at the hospital for a large hematoma to his right eye and lacerations to the hairline of his right forehead.

Gray claims her son complained of severe pain.

After eight staples were applied to the lacerations, Ewing was released after less than an hour with discharge instructions for scalp lacerations and contusions.

According to Gray, her son spent the night at his girlfriend's home. She discovered him the next morning unconscious and unresponsive.

Gray claims he was rushed back to the hospital where he underwent a CT scan which showed right acute epidural hematoma and skull fracture which was below the lacerations that were treated the night before.

According to the complaint, Ewing was transferred to another hospital by helicopter for brain surgery.

Gray claims Alton Memorial failed to perform diagnostic tests which would have shown Ewing's head injury upon his initial admission, failed to discharge him with adequate instructions, failed to timely diagnose his true injuries and failed to admit him to the hospital for observation.

Gray alleges Ewing sustained severe and irreparable brain damage because the epidural hematoma continued to bleed, developed severe left-sided hemiparesis and is confined to a wheelchair.

She also claims he has sustained a significant loss of both and short- and long-term memory, is unable to speak clearly, developed severe emotional distress and depression, developed multiple infections and pulmonary problems, sustained great pain and suffering and claims he requires 24-hour skilled care in a rehabilitative environment.

Represented by James Hopkins of St. Louis, Gray is seeking damages in excess of $100,000, plus all costs of the suit.

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