Man seeks to settle Thomas Memorial Hospital lawsuit

By Kyla Asbury | Apr 4, 2012

WINFIELD -- A man is asking the court for approval of the settlement in his case against Thomas Memorial Hospital for his wife's suicide.

In 2006 or 2007, Deanna Sisk voluntarily admitted herself to the behavioral medicine unit of Charleston Area Medical Center after telling her family she thought she had a nervous breakdown and had told her sister-in-law that she had thoughts of suicide, according to a complaint filed March 14 in Putnam Circuit Court.

Charles Sisk II claims before January 2009, Deanna Sisk had applied for Social Security disability and gave one of her reasons for being disabled that she was suffering from a major depression disorder.

Deanna Sisk had not worked for several months before January 2009 and had told her family that she was depressed because she had a miscarriage, even though all medical testing indicated that she had never been pregnant, according to the suit.

Charles Sisk claims on Jan. 29, 2009, he was at his place of employment when he received a phone call from his 16-year-old-son, Trevor Sisk, who told him that Deanna Sisk had taken a quantity of pills, but that he did not know what kind of pills she had taken or how many.

Deanna Sisk had told Trevor Sisk that she had taken the pills and Trevor Sisk found what he thought was a suicide note written by his mother and asked Charles Sisk to come home as soon as possible, according to the suit.

Charles Sisk claims he arrived home and attempted to get information from her about what she had taken, but she was not cooperative, so he called 911 and requested an ambulance.

The 911 operator asked if Deanna Sisk was unconscious and, if she was conscious, whether she would go voluntarily to the hospital and when Deanne Sick insisted that she would not go voluntarily, the 911 operator told Charles SIsk all he could do was go to the courthouse and get a mental hygiene commitment order, according to the suit.

Charles Sisk went to the Putnam Courthouse to fill out the order and left Trevor Sisk to watch Deanna Sisk.

"When Deanna arrived at Highland Hospital, she was evaluated and it was determined that she was suffering from a wound caused by an unrelated dog bite that had taken place several months before. Highland Transferred Deanna to Thomas Memorial Hospital for wound follow-up care and for admission to the mental health unit at Thomas Memorial," the complaint states.

Charles Sisk claims Deanna Sisk eventually was discharged from the hospital on Feb. 4, 2009, because she "had not been certified by any physician as representing a continued threat of harm to herself or others."

When they arrived home, Deanna Sisk was really loud and aggressive and Charles Sisk was afraid to stay with her in their home, according to the suit.

Charles Sisk claims he and his children left to stay with other family members, but he continued to text and call Deanna Sisk to check on her the following day, but when he did not hear from her on Feb. 6, 2009, he went to the home with his father to check on her and found her dead.

"Deanna had narrated her suicide for her family; she killed herself through a combination of an overdose of insulin and prescription drugs," the complaint states.

Charles Sisk claims approximately one year after Deanna Sisk's death, he hired Harvey D. Peyton to explore whether there might be any sort of case against Thomas Memorial Hospital on the theory that the hospital's failure to do more to keep Deanne Sisk from going home on Feb., 4, 2009, which may have contributed to her suicide.

Charles Sisk has instructed his attorney to accept an offer from Thomas Memorial Hospital to settle any potential liability of the institution for the death of Deanna Sisk in the amount of $70,000, "in view of all the foregoing and in an effort to bring this matter to a conclusion and spare his children from the pain of reliving the circumstances of their mother's death."

To be fair to his children, Charles Sisk has agreed to waive any share of the settlement proceeds; his attorney has agreed to reduce his fees to 20 percent of the recovery; there will be no reimbursement to the estate for funeral bills and expenses because those have already been pain; the expenses for investigative costs, medical record gathering, copying, postage and expert, witness fees together with carrying charges to Advocate Capital total $28,990, "so that after the attorney fees of $14,000 and claim expenses of $28,990 are paid, the amount of $27,010 will remain for distribution to Deanna's three surviving children...with each child receiving the amount of $9,003.33."

Charles Sisk is seeking for the Court to approve the settlement of the potential wrongful death claim of Deanna Sisk against the hospital and to authorize him to distribute the proceeds of the settlement as stated previously.

Putnam Circuit Court miscellaneous case number: 12-C-82

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