Lawyers file appearances in wrongful death suit over skin peeling

Amelia Flood Jan. 27, 2010, 7:39am

A number of attorneys for the more than 17 defendants in a wrongful death suit have filed appearances and motions to dismiss allegations that a patient died from an allergic reaction that left her skin peeling off.

Plaintiff Rosetta Helms filed the suit as administrator of the estate of Earline Taylor seeking $19 million in damages.

The suit alleges that Taylor died from an allergic reaction to a drug administered by the staff of Atrium Health Care & Rehabilitation Center of Cahokia in November 2007.

Five attorneys have so far filed appearances on behalf of 15 of the defendants.

Of those, defendants Atrium Health Care, Home Pharmacy Services LLC, Omnicare Inc., River Bluffs Health Care & Rehabilitation Center of Cahokia, and severeal others have filed motions seeking to dismiss all or some of Helms' claims, asserting that she has not established them.

According to Helms' suit, Taylor lived at River Bluffs and its successor, Atrium, from 1996 until November 2007.

During November 2007, Taylor was prescribed medication including Sulfonamide, a compound she was allergic to. The suit claims at least three nurses, if not more staff, were aware of the allergy.

She was prescibed the drug at Kenneth Hall Hospital and given it on her return to the nursing home over several days.

On Nov. 20, 2007 Taylor developed symptoms of a reaction that progressed until portions of her skin peeled off, leaving large open areas and causing extreme pain and suffering, the complaint states.

According to the complaint, Taylor lost up to 55 percent of her skin.
She died four days later in a hospital burn unit.

Her family incurred the loss of her love, companionship, grief, sorrow and funeral costs of about $100,000 and medical bills of $1,200.

Helms is represented by Ross Anderson of East St. Louis.

The defendants whose attorneys have entered their appearences are as follows:

Atrium is represented by Daniel Farroll of Edwardsville. He also represents River Bluffs, Susan Brown LPN, Kimberley Fowler LPN, and Natasha Turner LPN.

Kenneth Hall Hospital is represented by Charles Swartwout of Belleville. He also represents Touchette Regional Hospital Inc., La Norris Yates RN, Ruth Luckett LPN, and Southern Illinois Health Care Access Inc.

Home Pharmacy and Omnicare are represented by Michael Kokal of Edwardsville.

Dr. Benedicta Umoru is represented by Bobbie Moon of St. Louis. Moon also represents Southern Illinois Regional Wellness Center.

Weldon Johnson of St.Louis represents Medicate Pharmacy Inc.

No attorney has entered an appearance on behalf of defendants Jennifer Simpson LPN, Kenneth Medical Group, Southern Illinois Medical Specialists, Dr. Bassam Albarcha or Windsor Health Center.

St. Clair County Circuit Judge Michael O'Malley is presiding.

The case is St. Clair case number 09-L-607.

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