St. Joseph's Hospital of Highland

A case involving a woman who died after choking on barium at St. Joseph's Hospital of Highland will be in court May 4.

The medical malpractice suit filed against the hospital in September 2002, claims that Ethel Schoen was given a barium shake--a substance used often as a contrast in upper gastro-intestinal procedures, in preparation for x-rays at the hospital on Sept. 15, 2000.

All pending motions will be heard in Circuit Judge Andy Matoesian's courtroom at 9 a.m.

According to the complaint, St. Joseph’s employees were advised by family members that Ethel easily choked.

“Instead of resuscitating Ethel or taking her to the ER, St. Joseph employees took Ethel to her second floor room where eventually a code blue was called and Ethel was unable to be resuscitated,” the complaint states.

The complaint was filed by Virgil L Schoen, Sterling Schoen and Doris Watson on behalf of Ethel Schoen.

The plaintiffs claim that Ethel died due to choking on the barium and that her death was caused by the negligence of St. Joseph’s employees acting within the scope of their employment.

“The estate and next of kin of Ethel suffered pecuniary damages and loss of society and all other damages set forth by the Illinois Wrongful Death Act and Illinois common law as well as medical, funeral and burial expenses,” the complaint states.

The plaintiffs are represented by Thomas O. Falb of Williamson, Webster, Falb & Glisson of Alton and Joseph Hoefert of Hoefert and Perica of Alton.

St. Joseph’s, represented by Lisa Franke and Daniel Farroll of Burroughs, Hepler, Broom, MacDonald, Hebrank and True, responded to the complaint admitting that Ethel received a barium contrast but denied negligence.

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