Mascoutah Ambulance Service, Memorial Hospital named in wrongful death suit

Ann Knef Jan. 3, 2008, 3:00am

Mascoutah Ambulance Service and Memorial Hospital in Belleville have been named in a wrongful death complaint filed by William Jenner on behalf of his wife, Elizabeth Jenner.

According to a suit filed Dec. 31 in St. Clair County Circuit Court, the ambulance service failed to properly intubate Elizabeth Jenner during an early morning emergency transport to the hospital on Dec. 29, 2006.

"That the ALS (advance life support) team placed a CO2 monitor on the Decedent, the purpose of which was to assure the patient (Decedent) was breathing properly as indicated by inhalation of oxygen and exhalation of carbon dioxide," the complaint states. "The monitor is designed to change colors when CO2 is exhaled. The monitor placed on Decedent did not change colors."

She was pronounced dead about an hour after arriving at the hospital, the suit says.

The day before her death Jenner had received an implanted defibrillator at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, and according to the suit there were no complications from the cardioversion therapy procedure.

A call was made for an ambulance at 1:25 a.m. on Dec. 29, 2006, after Elizabeth Jenner developed a cough and had complaints of shortness of breath, the suit says. She arrived at Memorial Hospital at 2:33 a.m., and was re-intubated at 2:45 a.m. All efforts to resuscitate stopped at 3:27 a.m., the suit says.

Represented by Keith Short of Goldenberg, Heller, Antognoli, Rowland, Short & Gori of Edwardsville, William Jenner is seeking in excess of $100,000 in damages.

The hospital allegedly failed to conform to proper triage evaluation policies, the suit claims.

Jenner also claims the hospital was allegedly negligent for:

  • Failing to properly examine decedent for breath sounds upon arrival;

  • Failing to ensure proper and timely respiration by applying correct medical methods;

  • Failing to confirm proper intubation position upon arrival to the emergency room; and failing to adequately maintain and record emergency room, triage, nurses and physician's notes in the medical record.

    "That when the ALS crew delivered decedent to Memorial Hospital no breath sounds were found in the lungs," the complaint states. "Nurses notes indicate bagging but do not indicate checking air pathways or determining if the intubation tube was correctly inserted.

    "Dr. Morgan's records indicated no pulse and no breath sounds heard in the lungs. Dr. Morgan noted breath sounds in the stomach. Dr. Morgan did not note a pulse. The nurses' records indicate Decedent had a pulse of 30. Dr. Morgan's notes state the Decedent was re-intubated at 0245. The nurses notes state the 'code' was called at 0245. All efforts to resuscitate stopped at 0327."

    The complaint states that the cause of death listed on Jenner's death certificate was coronary artery disease, "although an autopsy performed on December 30, 2006 found all coronary arteries patent."

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