Suit filed after woman dies with head stuck in bed

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Sep. 5, 2011, 5:31pm

GALVESTON - Claiming their mother died when her head was lodged between the side rails and air mattress on her bed at a local nursing home, Clarence Hugh Ethridge, Donna Wright and Debra K. Schultz have filed a lawsuit.

A lawsuit filed Aug. 24 in Galveston County District Court blames Invacare Corp. and American Bantex Corp. for Ouida Lucille Ethridge's death on Aug. 24, 2009.

Ouida L. Ethridge was admitted into Friendship Haven Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center on or around April 6, 2007.

The suit shows she developed pressure ulcers that necessitated she be placed on an air mattress during her residency at the long-term care facility.

The decedent was eventually given a bed with a mattress from Bantex and half side-rails from Invacare.

The suit explains that she was found the morning of her death with her head trapped.

"CPR was initiated, but Mrs. Ethridge could not be revived," the original petition says.

Ouida L. Ethridge died from injuries to her hyroid and thyroid bones. An autopsy listed positional asphyxia as her cause of death.

Invacare and Bantex are faulted for not taking the decedent's frail physical condition and confused mental state into consideration.

Consequently, the plaintiffs seek unspecified monetary damages and a jury trial.

They are represented by Marian S. Rosen & Associates.

Galveston County 212th District Court Judge Susan Criss is presiding over the case.

Case No. 11-cv-1364

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