Woman sues hospital in mother's death

Suit alleges negligence in use of faulty recliner

April 07, 2002|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

A Westminster woman whose mother died last summer after a fall from a reclining chair in her room at Carroll County General Hospital has filed a lawsuit against the facility in Carroll Circuit Court.

June Mohr, 84, died at the hospital in Westminster on Aug. 11 after fracturing her nose during a fall from the recliner, according to the lawsuit filed Thursday by her daughter, Carol Rider.

The lawsuit claims negligence by the hospital for having defective equipment and for continuing to use the malfunctioning chair after Rider notified the staff about it. The suit alleges wrongful death, and pain and suffering before death, and seeks damages of $500,000.

Hospital spokeswoman Teresa Fletcher would not comment on the lawsuit. "Since this does have to do with the care that the woman received, due to patient confidentiality, we cannot discuss it," she said.

Mohr was admitted to the hospital July 31 with shortness of breath and a medical history that included chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy and dementia, according to the lawsuit.

While in her hospital room Aug. 7, Mohr was asleep in a reclining chair that was fully reclined when Rider heard a loud noise and saw that the chair had jerked into an upright position, according to the lawsuit. Only a feeding table prevented the older woman "from being catapulted from the recliner on to the floor."

Rider reported the malfunctioning chair at a nurse's station and asked that it be removed or replaced, according to the lawsuit.

But the next day, Rider received a call from the hospital that her mother had fallen out of the chair that morning, and when she arrived, she found that Mohr had facial abrasions and two black eyes, according to the lawsuit.

The chair was taken for repair.

Mohr died Aug. 11, and the death certificate and autopsy listed a fractured nose as a contributing factor, according to the lawsuit. A subsequent investigation by the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene found the hospital was deficient in providing adequate supervision and managing its equipment, the lawsuit alleges.

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