Madison - St. Clair Record

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Touchette Regional Hospital alleges third party to blame in wrongful death suit


By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Feb 11, 2020


A St. Clair County hospital argues that a third party is to blame in a wrongful death suit alleging a patient was not moved to an intensive care unit in time.

Leola Stark, as the administrator of the estate of Ernest J. Higginbottom, filed the lawsuit on Nov. 25 against Touchette Regional Hospital.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff alleges hospital staff failed to properly and timely follow doctor’s orders, causing a delay in diagnosis. As a result, the decedent allegedly suffered “massive” internal bleeding.

The plaintiff alleges the decedent should have been transferred to the intensive care unit, and a surgeon should have been notified. The hospital staff should have also ordered a blood transfusion, the suit states.

Higginbottom died on Aug. 29, 2017, which is the same day he was admitted to the hospital.

The plaintiff alleges Higginbottom’s next of kin have suffered grief and sorrow and have been deprived of his “services, companionship, comfort, instruction, guidance, counsel, training, love and support.”

Touchette Regional Hospital answered the complaint on Jan. 13 through attorney Charles Swartwout of Boyle Brasher LLC in Belleville, denying liability.

In its affirmative defenses, the hosptail argues that any alleged injuries “were not directly or proximately caused by any act or omission by this defendant but were the result of independent, intervening causes over which this defendant had no control and which were not known or reasonably foreseeable by this defendant.”

The defendant also argues that any alleged injuries were caused by third parties, and the plaintiff failed to join all parties necessary in the lawsuit.

Stark filed a response to the answer on Jan. 16 through attorney Joseph Bartholomew of Cook Bartholomew Shevlin Cook & Jones LLP in Belleville. She denies each and every allegation.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 19-L-821

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Organizations in this Story

Cook, Ysursa, Bartholomew, Brauer & ShevlinSt. Clair County Circuit CourtBoyle Brasher LLC