Thomas Hospital sued over elderly man's fall down stairs

By Cara Bailey | Apr 25, 2007

CHARLESTON - A Kanawha County couple has filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against a South Charleston hospital after the man was injured while he was a patient in the hospital.

Earl and Martha Osborn filed a suit April 10 in Kanawha Circuit Court against Thomas Memorial Hospital.

According to the lawsuit, Earl Osborn, an elderly man, was admitted to the hospital on Aug. 11, 2005, with chest pain, shortness of breath, suspected pneumonia and fatigue. Osborn was placed on fall precaution as part of his admission orders.

The suit says Osborn showed signs of confusion and disorientation, and his family members complained to the nursing staff about the lack of precautions and nursing care.

"As a result of (Thomas') negligence and disregard for his care, on ... April 14, 2005, Mr. Osborn was allowed to wander alone off the floor on which he was a patient and into a stairwell area of the hospital," the suit says.

"While left unattended in the stairwell, Mr. Osborn fell, suffering a severe fracture to his left hip and other injuries."

As a result of Osborn's broken hip, he claims he has incurred medical expenses of more than $25,000.

Earl and Martha Osborn, through attorney Joseph Reeder, seek compensation for their expenses, together with punitive damages and court costs.

The case has been assigned to Judge Charles King.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 07-C-701

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