Prothrombin time not monitored, states suit against Covenant Care nursing home

Kelly Holleran Aug. 3, 2011, 4:50am

The wife of a recently deceased man claims her husband died because of inadequate staffing at a nursing home.

Peggy Barnhart filed a lawsuit July 2 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Covenant Care Midwest, Covenant Care, Centre Partners Management, Covenant Care's Senior Management, Covenant Care California, Robert Levin and Andrew F. Torok.

In her complaint, Peggy Barnhart alleges her husband, Samuel G. Barnhart Sr., was admitted to Cedar Ridge on June 17, 2009. During his stay at the nursing home, Samuel Barnhart was supposed to have his prothrombin time and his international normalization ration monitored, according to the complaint.

Prothrombin time and his international normalization ration are measures of the extrinsic pathway of coagulation, according to Wikipedia. They are used to determine the clotting tendency of blood, in the measure of warfarin dosage, liver damage, and vitamin K status.

The complaint states that Cedar Ridge failed to monitor Samuel Barnhart Sr.'s levels, causing his levels to spike, the suit states.

Because of his high levels, Samuel Barnhart's blood thinned, and he developed severe rectal bleeding, the complaint says. Peggy Barnhart alleges her husband subsequently lapsed into hypovolemic shock and developed cardiac arrest. These events led to Samuel Barnhart Sr.'s death, according to the complaint.

Before his death, Samuel Barnhart Sr. experienced great pain, suffering and emotional
distress and incurred medical costs, the suit states.

Because of Samuel Barnhart Sr.'s death, his family has lost his companionship and society, the complaint says.

Peggy Barnhart blames the defendants for causing her husband's death, saying they negligently failed to provide budget resources to enable Cedar Ridge to have sufficient nursing staff, failed to provide budget resources to have adequately trained nursing staff so as to report high levels, encouraged Cedar Ridge to maintain a resident census that it knew was in excess of the nursing staff's abilities to provide proper medical care to patients and encouraged the nursing home to admit residents with needs beyond its staff's abilities.

In her 20-count complaint, Peggy Barnhart seeks a judgment of more than $900,000, plus costs.

David Sutterfield of Sutterfield Law Offices in Effingham will be representing her.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 11-L-397.

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