Woman under going physical rehab tears rotator cuff, sues hospital

By Kelly Holleran | May 14, 2009

A woman says hospital employees negligently forced her to stand alone during therapeutic exercises for her rehabilitation, which caused her to fall and tear her rotator cuff.

Darlene Westmoreland filed a lawsuit May 8 in Madison County Circuit Court against St. Claire's Hospital and Saint Anthony's Hospital.

Westmoreland says she was admitted to St. Anthony's Hospital in Alton on May 17, 2007, for comprehensive rehabilitation after she had left knee surgery.

However, while Westmoreland was undergoing rehabilitation, hospital employees failed to properly supervise her and failed to hold her while she was standing and performing therapeutic exercises, the complaint says.

Employees also "requested and allowed the plaintiff to stand at a time when she was to be non-weight bearing on her left leg," the suit states.

As a result, Westmoreland fell and tore her rotator cuff, which required additional surgery and caused her pain and suffering, according to the complaint. She also says she has lost her ability to enjoy life and incurred medical expenses.

In the two-count suit, Westmoreland is seeking a judgment in excess of $100,000, plus costs.

Thomas G. Kemper of Butler, Kemper and Whitworth in St. Louis will be representing her.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-480.

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