The family of a man who died after allegedly being discharged too soon from a hospital to a nursing home has sued the doctors and the hospital they allege are responsible for his death.
Victoria Stephensen, executor of the estate of David M. Harbaugh, filed suit June 10 against Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, Suburban Pulmonary and Sleep Associates and physicians Stephen K. Lee, Mushtaq H. Mohammed and Inderjit K. Hansra-Godfrey over Harbaugh’s death in June 2013.
According to the complaint, Harbaugh, 76, was admitted to the Bolingbrook Hospital after friends found he had “an altered mental state and had become unresponsive.” At the hospital, he was resuscitated after suffering respiratory and cardiac arrest. Doctors suspected systemic infection and he was admitted to the critical care unit at the hospital.
The complaint said he received treatment for a host of maladies, including meningitis, sepsis, encephalitis, pneumonia, dehydration, kidney function loss, high blood sugar, stroke and more.
The complaint asserts, despite his extensive medical problems, “with that proper continued care and treatment, he would have survived and recovered to his normal life.”
However, the complaint alleges doctors and the hospital opted to discharge Harbaugh, first to a “long term acute care hospital for rehabilitation treatment,” and then to a nursing home, even though a rehabilitation specialist said Harbaugh was “at much too low a level of medical condition for even a hospital inpatient rehabilitation program.”
The complaint alleges these decisions were made after Humana, Harbaugh’s health insurer, said it was unwilling to pay for care at the long term acute care hospital.
Just a day later, the complaint alleges, Harbaugh was taken from the nursing home on an emergency basis to Edward Hospital in Naperville, where he was “described as being very sick.” The following day, June 30, 2013, Harbaugh died.
The complaint includes counts of medical negligence against the doctors, a count of institutional negligence against Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital and counts of vicarious liability against the hospital and Suburban Pulmonary and Sleep Associates.
Plaintiffs are requesting damages of more than $50,000, plus costs.
They are represented by Thomas L. Knight and Associates, of Wheaton.