Helping Hands sued over transport incident

Kelly Holleran Jun. 13, 2011, 4:26am


The child of a recently deceased woman has filed suit against a transportation agency after she says employees allowed the woman to ride in a vehicle on her wheelchair without being properly secured, causing the woman to hit her head while riding the bus.

Plaintiff Scarlet Hardy claims defendant Helping Hands was transporting her mother, Helen White, in one of its vehicles on May 29, 2009, from defendant Calvin Johnson Care Center to DaVita Metro East Dialysis when the incident occurred.

"On said date, Ms. White, while being transported by Defendant Helping Hands, suffered a traumatic blow to her head," the suit filed May 23 in St. Clair County Circuit Court states.

Because of the blow, White suffered a subdural hematoma, which is bleeding in her brain, a closed head concussion and a coma that led to her death on June 24, 2009, according to the complaint.

After the blow, however, defendant Calvin Johnson Care Center did not transport White to an emergency room until June 1, 2009, the suit states.

Due to White's death, her family incurred funeral and burial costs and lost her society, services, companionship, consortium, love and support, the complaint says. In addition, Hardy claims she suffered grief, sorrow and mental suffering.

Hardy blames Helping Hands for partially contributing to her mother's death because it negligently failed to secure White's wheelchair in its vehicle with a proper device, failed to utilize its vehicle safety devices and failed to warn White of the risks of riding in a vehicle without a proper safety device.

She also names Calvin Johnson Care Center as a defendant, saying it negligently failed to provide supervised care, failed to protect White from neglect and failed to notify White's physician of significant changes in her medical condition.

In her two-count complaint, Hardy is seeking a judgment of more than $100,000, plus costs and other relief the court deems just.

She will be represented by Matthew R. Davis of Heller, Gallagher and Finley in St. Louis.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 11-L-324.

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