Trial starts in negligence lawsuit against Edwardsville nursing home

By Christina Stueve Hodges | Mar 5, 2013

Judge Callis

A battle is being waged between attorneys on both sides of a woman’s wrongful death lawsuit against an Edwardsville nursing home in Madison County Chief Judge Ann Callis’ courtroom.

Plaintiff Diana Obernuefemann filed a lawsuit in 2007, claiming the nursing home was negligent in the care of her aunt, Kathleen Adams. Opening arguments in the trial started Tuesday.

Adams was “a mother to” Obernuefemann, according to plaintiff’s attorney Robert Gregory.

The staff at Rosewood allegedly placed a Duragesic narcotic patch on resident Kathleen Adams, then 66 years old, before moving another one that was in place as a result of a hospital stay.

Gregory described the patch as having “severe, potentially life-threatening side effects.”

The lawsuit alleges violations of the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act and claims the defendant’s alleged negligence was a proximate cause of Adams’ death and damages.

“A patch applied to the patient’s skin is like a band-aid. It must be applied. There are residual effects after 72 hours,” Gregory said.

Obernuefemann, administrator of Adams’ estate, claims Adams suffered an overdose and aspiration pneumonia and died, June 7, 2006.

Adams, an X-ray technician at Barnes Hospital, was fond of golf, the St. Louis Cardinals and being with her family.

“Before May, 2006, Kathleen Adams was an independent woman,” Gregory said.

Defense attorney Dennis McCubbin said Adams’ cause of death was pneumonia.

“Rosewood did not cause her death,” he said. “The nurses are good nurses.”

Three nurses inspected Adams but missed the patch. Rosewood had policies to prevent those kinds of accidents, but sometimes they occur, according to McCubbin.

Adams’ death was caused by risk factors from her pneumonia, according to McCubbin, who identified those risk factors as age related changes, painful cough, chronic smoking and cardiovascular disease.

Madison County case number 07-L-239.

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