Woman sues Thomas Memorial for mother's death

CHARLESTON -- A Kanawha County woman is suing Herbert J. Thomas Memorial Hospital Association for the death of her mother.

On Jan. 7, Beatrice Fitzgerald fell at her home and was transported to the defendant's emergency room, where she was diagnosed with a right hip and right arm fracture, according to a complaint filed Nov. 8 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Nancy DuVall, Fitzgerald's daughter, claims throughout the night her mother was given Morphine IVP and that the medical record said to give her 4mg, but at 11:22 p.m., the nurse only gave her 2mg because Fitzgerald told her the pain was almost gone.

At 2:56 a.m. on Jan. 8, a nurse noted that Fitzgerald was resting quietly with no complaints. Despite no complaints of pain, the nurse administered 20mg of Morphine IVP at 3:27 a.m., according to the suit.

DuVall claims while en route to the emergency room, Fitzgerald suffered respiratory arrest and coded, so she was given 0.4mg of Narcan IVP twice and became somewhat responsive.

Following the morphine overdose and subsequent cardiac arrest, Fitzgerald's respiratory, renal and cardiac functions began to decline, according to the suit.

DuVall claims after discharge from the hospital, Fitzgerald had to live in a nursing home, was in and out of the hospital, and then in a hospice care center until she died on March 11.

The defendant deviated from the normal standard of care and negligently cared for Fitzgerald while she was at the hospital, according to the suit.

DuVall is seeking compensatory damages. She is being represented by Robert V. Berthold and Christina L. Smith.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Carrie Webster.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 11-C-1982

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