Man files wrongful death lawsuit against deceased wife's employer, says she was 'worked to death'

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Nov 19, 2013

CINCINNATI (Legal Newsline) -- An Ohio man is suing the hospital where his wife worked, saying she was "worked to death."

James Jasper filed a lawsuit in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court earlier this month after his wife, Elizabeth, was killed in March while driving home from a 12-hour shift at the Jewish Hospital in Cincinnati.

The named defendants include Jewish Hospital LLC and Mercy Health Partners of Southwest Ohio Inc.

According to his 10-page complaint, Jasper alleges his wife's unit -- from 2000 until her death, she worked as a registered nurse in the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit of Jewish -- was "regularly understaffed" starting in 2011.

That year, Jewish came under Mercy's ownership.

Jasper alleges that after Mercy purchased Jewish, his wife's hours "routinely and significantly" exceeded the hours for which she was scheduled.

"As a result of the shortage of nursing staff, nurses at Jewish were often required or asked to work through breaks, work extra shifts in addition to their regular scheduled hours, and/or to stay late," the man's lawsuit states.

"As a result of the nurse shortage, hospital nurses were routinely and regularly unable to take lunch breaks or to end their shifts on time, causing many of the nurses, including Ms. Jasper, to work while exhausted and hungry."

According to Jasper's lawsuit, Mercy was told of the poor working conditions by Mary Alliston, Elizabeth's supervisor, but it ignored the warnings.

Alliston -- before Elizabeth's death -- told her supervisors she was concerned the nurse was being "worked to death."

Elizabeth, a mother of two, was one of the few nurses qualified to work the unit's dialysis machines, and was routinely called into work while off-duty to run the machine, according to her husband's lawsuit.

Jasper is seeking monetary relief for loss of support from his wife's expected earnings; loss of "companionship, consortium, care, assistance, attention, protection, advice, guidance, counsel, instruction, training and education;" and the family's "pain and suffering and mental anguish."

Click here to read the full complaint.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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