PARKERSBURG - A Wood County woman alleges her trip to the hospital two years ago resulted in two surgeries to her knee, the second after contracting an infection following the first.
St. Joseph's Healthcare System is named in a personal injury suit by Davisville resident Madge Davis. Based in Houston, Texas, SJHS is the parent company of St. Joseph's Hospital in Parkersburg.
In her suit filed in Wood Circuit Court on Oct. 19, Davis, 73, alleges a successful knee surgery was ruined when she fell on the floor and contracted a staph infection that resulted in another, unnecessary, surgery.
According to court records, Davis underwent replacement surgery for her right knee on Oct. 22, 2007. By all accounts, the surgery was successful.
Two days later, she attempted to use the bathroom in her hospital room. At the time, she was supervised by an unknown nurse, and an unknown physical therapist.
Upon entering the four-foot wide doorway to the bathroom with her walker, Bungard "fell and struck her head and ribs on the toilet and trash can in the bathroom." In the course of her fall, Bungard alleges she landed "directly on her right knee, which opened her surgical wound," causing her to bleed on the floor.
Though the fall did not damage the structure of the knee replacement, the opening of the wound resulted in her developing a bacterial infection. According to her suit, Bungard developed methicillin resistant staphylococcus aura, or MRSA, an infection highly resistant to many common antibiotics.
Because of the MRSA infection, Bungard's knee did not properly heal following surgery. Though records do not state when, Bungard "was forced to undergo two irrigation and debridgement operations, including a complete removal of the polyethylene spacer from the knee prosthetics," and a subsequent "second complete right knee replacement."
In her suit, Bungard alleges the fall could have been prevented had her records accurately reflected she was in an at-risk category.
On the morning of her accident at 2:07 a.m., Bungard maintains she was deemed to be in a high risk category for falls. However, at 9:36 a.m., an unknown nurse downgraded her fall category.
Her fall occurred at 3:57 p.m. as a result of her feet getting tangled when she attempted to sit on the toilet. Thirty minutes later, Bungard "was again categorized as a 'high fall risk to be cared for under the 'Fall Risk Care Plan'."
What placed Bungard in the high-risk category for fall was the fact she'd undergone a surgical operation in her lower extremity, he was older and under the influence of pain medications.
As a result of hospital staff not following its own procedures in caring for her, Bungard alleges she "sustained an unnecessary injury, resulting in an infection, which required her to undergo additional medical treatments, incur additional medical expenses, experience substantial pain and suffering, and to experience mental anguish." In addition to an unknown corporation - listed as XYZ - St. Joseph's may have contracted to employ them, four unknown people - listed as John Does 1-4, who treated Bungard are named as co-defendants in the suit.
Wilda's husband, Kenneth, 73, is listed as a co-plaintiff, and makes a claim for loss of consortium.
The Bungard's seek unspecified damages, court costs, attorney fees and interest. They are represented by Ethan Vessels with the Marietta, Ohio, law firm of Fields, Dehmlow and Vessels.
The case has not yet been assigned to a judge.
Wood Circuit Court, case number 09-C-530