CHARLESTON – An unidentified woman is suing Thomas Health System, saying health care workers at St. Francis hospital breached confidentiality and caused the arrest of her police officer husband on a domestic battery charge.

The woman, identified as A.R., filed a lawsuit April 9 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

The woman says she came to the St. Francis emergency room on July 13, 2008 complaining of a persistent headache.

After an evaluation, workers at the hospital became suspicious that the plaintiff was the victim of domestic violence, the complaint says.

A.R. says workers contacted the Kanawha County Sheriff's Department and reported their suspicions. The department then contacted the State Police, the complaint says.

Troopers came to the emergency room and interviewed the plaintiff against her wishes and eventually arrested her husband, a police officer, on a domestic battery charge, the complaint says.

The complaint says that A.R.'s husband was suspended from his job and ordered to have no contact with her.

Also, within 24 hours of her coming to the emergency room, there was a full account of the events in at least two newspapers and on television news, the complaint says.

A.R.'s complaint charges the defendant with negligence, breach of confidentiality, intentional infliction of emotional distress and punitive conduct.

She's seeking damages for lost wages related to her husband's suspension and the fact that she says she was forced to resign from her job.

She's also seeking punitive damages and legal costs.

Bruce L. Freeman is representing the plaintiff. The case is before Kanawha Circuit Judge Charles King.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 09-C-642

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