Daughter sues Heartland of Beckley for father's injuries

By Kyla Asbury | Apr 11, 2011

CHARLESTON -- A woman is suing Heartland of Beckley after she claims her father was diagnosed with a life threatening disease while at the nursing home.

Manor Care, Inc.; HCR Manorcare, Inc.; and Jo Claire Hanshew were also named as defendants in the suit.

On Dec. 16, 2009, Donald J. Via was transported by ambulance from Raleigh General Hospital and admitted into Heartland of Beckley into room number G1A, according to a complaint filed March 18 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Patricia Kerns, Via's daughter, claims during her father's admission, she noticed a sign posted on the entry door of the room mandating visitors check in at the nurses' station before entering the room.

Upon checking in at the nurses' station, Kerns inquired about the sign and was told the sign was placed on the door because the resident occupying the room was eccentric and did not like loud noises, according to the suit.

Kerns claims she left the facility trusting her father had been safely admitted into the room based on the nurses' representations.

The following day, Kerns discovered the "'eccentric' resident" was infected by clostridium difficile, which is life-threatening, so she demanded her father be discharged from the facility, but the defendants refused to honor her request and her father was later diagnosed with the same disease, according to the complaint.

Kerns claims the defendants failed to exercise a degree of care, skill and learning required or expected of a reasonable, prudent health care provider.

The defendants' actions were reckless, willful and wanton, according to the suit.

Kerns is seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. She is being represented by C. Benjamin Salango and Dan R. Snuffer.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Carrie Webster.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 11-C-439

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