Gateway Regional sued for allegedly allowing patient to wander

Kelly Holleran Apr. 5, 2012, 2:37am

The estate of a deceased woman claims a medical center failed to adequately monitor the woman, allowing the woman to wander from the hospital and to get hit by a train.

The estate of Hope Crooks filed a lawsuit March 29 in Madison County Circuit Court against Gateway Regional Medical Center, Granite City Illinois Hospital Company doing business as Gateway Regional Medical Center, Illinois/Indiana EM-1 Medical Services and Dr. Chennaniah M. Nadindla.

On May 28, 2010, Park Haven Care Center notified Gateway that Hope Crooks required admittance to the hospital's psychiatric care unit because of suicidal thoughts, according to the complaint.

In turn, Gateway sent an ambulance to Park Haven to pick up Crooks, the suit states. Meanwhile, the staff at Park Haven instituted a 1:1 patient watch to prevent Crooks from harming herself, the complaint says.

When Crooks arrived at the hospital, Nadindla performed an assessment, but decided not to place her on a 1:1 patient watch, according to the complaint. A little more than one hour after Crooks was admitted to the hospital, she walked away, the suit states. Hospital staff attempted to locate her, but could not find her, the complaint says.

Later, Crooks was found dead on the railroad tracks, according to the complaint.

Crooks's estate alleges medical malpractice and general negligence against the defendants, saying they negligently failed to properly perform a suicide risk assessment, failed to institute a close watch of Crooks, allowed her to walk out of the hospital and failed to locate Crooks after she left the hospital, the suit states.

In the complaint, Crooks's estate is seeking a judgment of more than $600,000, plus costs.

Gregory A. Becker and Matthew R. Chapman of Becker, Schroader and Chapman in Granite City will be representing it.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 12-L-397.

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