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Brother of patient who died in Eastern State Hospital suing for wrongful death

UPDATED: Thu., May 11, 2017

The main building at Eastern State Hospital in 2016. The brother of a patient who broke his neck and died under the care of Eastern State Hospital staff is suing the hospital on charges of wrongful death. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
The main building at Eastern State Hospital in 2016. The brother of a patient who broke his neck and died under the care of Eastern State Hospital staff is suing the hospital on charges of wrongful death. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

The brother of a patient who broke his neck and died under the care of Eastern State Hospital staff is suing the hospital for wrongful death.

Kenneth Peters, brother of Allen Peters, alleges doctors are at fault for not rendering medical aid when his brother fell and broke his neck on May 11, 2014, becoming paralyzed and dying several hours later. The lawsuit claims doctors “did not attempt to identify the cause of Mr. Peters’ paralysis and did not administer medical care or treatment for him.”

Allen Peters had been a patient at Eastern since 1999, following an accident in 1974 when, at the age of 18, he crashed his motorcycle and suffered a severe head injury, according to court records. As a result of the accident, Peters was diagnosed with a psychotic disorder, progressive dementia, seizure disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder.

According to the lawsuit, Peters was “gravely disabled” and was prone to falling – in 2013 alone, he fell 20 times, the hospital documented.

On May 11, at about 8:50 a.m., he was discovered lying on the floor, the lawsuit states. He was conscious, and reported hitting his head on the floor, but was unable to move his extremities.

Hospital staff apparently lifted Peters onto his bed and left him untreated for 19 1/2 hours before he succumbed to complications from a broken neck, the lawsuit alleges. The cause of death was confirmed by Dr. Sally Aiken of the Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Eastern State Hospital officials did not return multiple calls seeking comment.

According to the lawsuit, Peters’ doctors did not contact his caregiver and legal guardian, Kelly Moore, about medical treatment. If they had, the lawsuit alleges she would have directed them to perform life-saving measures, since Peters, who was conscious, was not able to make his own medical decisions due to his condition.

Kelly Konkright, Kenneth Peters’ lawyer, said this is one of three wrongful death lawsuits he’s filed against Eastern State Hospital. The others were settled out of court.

The first was for Duane Charley, who was allegedly strangled to death by another patient on Nov. 20, 2012. The other was for Misael Rodriguez, whose family says was attacked by another patient Aug. 26, 2013.

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