Executor sues Washington University after wife discharged, dies in crash

Ann Knef Dec. 9, 2010, 2:59am

A man claims his deceased wife was negligently discharged from the hospital causing her to crash her car and die.

Joshua Hoffmann filed a lawsuit Nov. 15 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Washington University and Penny Cole.

Hoffmann says his wife Kathleen Hoffmann was treated on and before Aug. 18 at Barnes-Jewish Hospital for Crohn's Disease. Physicians treating her included Christopher Wieland and Edgar Overton, employed by Washington University in St. Louis. Also treating her were nurses, including Penny Cole, employed by Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis.

On Aug. 18, Hoffmann says his wife was discharged from the hospital in her own care and drove home herself. She died on the way home after losing control of her vehicle.

Hoffmann claims physicians and Cole were negligent in allowing his wife to be discharged knowing she would be driving her own car home and that she was medically incapable of doing so safely. He says his wife was released from the hospital when she was not medically stable and that the medical personnel failed to ensure she was discharged under the auspices of a responsible adult who could ensure she arrived home safely.

As executor of her estate, Hoffmann says his family has suffered financial hardship through medical and funeral expenses and have been deprived of their loved one's companionship and guidance.

In his four-count complaint, Hoffmann seeks more than $75,000 plus costs on all four counts.

Attorney Thomas Q. Keefe Jr. will be representing him.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 10-L-597.

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