St. Elizabeth's sued by estate of deceased woman

By Andrea Dearden | Nov 6, 2012

The family of a deceased Belleville woman claims she died as a result of bed sores that allegedly went undiagnosed at a local hospital.

Vanessa Noble, as independent administrator of the estate of Earline Noble, filed a lawsuit Oct. 11 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against St. Elizabeth's Hospital of the Hospital Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis, doing business as St. Elizabeth's Hospital. Belleville Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center Inc., the Lincoln Home and a nurse are named as respondents in discovery.

According to the complaint, Earline Noble was a resident of the Lincoln Home, a nursing and rehabilitation facility on North 27th Street. In October 2010, her daughter claims, she was admitted to St. Elizabeth's Hospital with weakness and an altered mental status. Earline's medical records allegedly noted her skin was healthy.

After staying at the hospital for 10 days, Noble's mother was returned to the Lincoln Home but later that day returned to St. Elizabeth's for rapid heart rate and possibly seizure, the lawsuit says. During her nearly month-long stay, Earline allegedly developed bed sores but was discharged to her nursing home in November 2010 with open ulcers and blisters to her lower body and hands.

In December 2010, Noble says her mother was admitted and released from Memorial Hospital's emergency room in Belleville after being diagnosed with multiple ailments. Noble alleges her mother was shown to have numerous bed sores. Finally, in late December, Noble says Earline was taken back to Memorial Hospital's emergency room where she was diagnosed with pneumonia, blood infection and severe bed sores.

Earline went into surgery to treat the bed sores a few days later but eventually died in January 2011 from the medical problems allegedly caused by her bed sores.

The Noble family accuses the doctors and staff of St. Elizabeth's of negligence and wrongful death for allegedly failing to diagnose Earline's bed sores before they were severe and untreatable. They seek more than $50,000 in damages for medical and funeral expenses plus court costs.

The Nobles are represented by attorney Steven E. Katzman of Belleville. They ask for a jury trial.

St. Clair County Circuit Court Case No. 12-L-542

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