Memorial Hospital named in wrongful death complaint

Kelly Holleran Feb. 16, 2010, 11:00am

The husband of a deceased woman is blaming nurses at Memorial Hospital in Belleville for his wife's death, saying the staff was guilty of a number of negligent acts.

Cletus Schmittling claims his wife, Carole Schmittling, was a resident of Memorial Convalescent Center in Belleville -- a service of Memorial Hospital -- when she presented with signs and symptoms of a respiratory infection.

According to the complaint filed Feb. 10 in St. Clair County Circuit Court, Carole Schmittling told nurses in her pre-surgery assessment that she had just gotten over an upper respiratory infection. Nurses also discovered that Carole Schmittling's blood oxygen level steadily decreased from 97 percent when she was admitted to the hospital to 92 percent on Jan. 25, 2008, the suit states. In addition, Carole Schmittling complained of coughing up blood during the evening of Jan. 25, 2008; was too fatigued to perform physical therapy on Jan. 24, 25 and 26; complained that she did not feel well on Jan. 25 and 26; complained that she felt her respiratory infection returning on Jan. 26, 2008; and had a temperature of 99.5 on Jan. 25, 2008, which increased to 100 degrees on Jan. 26, 2008, the complaint says.

Cletus Schmittling claims he complained to staff that his wife was not feeling well and was not breathing well on Jan. 26, 2008.

Still, the nursing staff negligently failed to test Carole Schmittling's blood oxygen saturation and report it to her treating physician, failed to report the signs and symptoms as Carole Schmittling relayed them, ignored the signs and symptoms of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome and failed to treat the ARDS, according to the complaint.

As a result, Carole Schmittling died on Feb. 12, 2008, at Memorial Hospital, the suit states.

Because of his wife's death, Cletus Schmittling claims he has lost her love, affection, companionship, services and support.

In addition to the hospital, Cletus Schmittling named specific nurses as defendants in the complaint, including Josefina Nance and Cathy Allen.

In his four-count suit, Cletus Schmittling is seeking compensatory damages of more than $150,000, plus other relief the court deems just.

Mark Levy of Collinsville will be representing him.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 10-L-56.

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