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SALEM Mother names hospital in suit



Published: Fri, May 10, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The lawsuit alleges that the hospital and a doctor delayed administering antibiotics.

SALEM -- Salem Community Hospital is among those being sued by the mother of a West Branch High School student who died during the 2001 meningitis outbreak.

M. Lynn Coblentz of Carey Road, Salem, originally filed the lawsuit in February in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.

But the lawsuit was transferred earlier this week to Columbiana County Common Pleas Court.

Coblentz is the mother of Kelly Coblentz, 15, who died May 28.

The lawsuit says the hospital, and Dr. James Siglow, whose address isn't specified, were negligent in their handling of Kelly when she was brought to Salem Community Hospital on May 27 for an evaluation for meningitis.

Also named

Dr. Siglow also is named as a defendant in the lawsuit, which says he worked at the time for the hospital and for Emergency Professional Services Inc. of Middleburg Heights. Emergency Professional Services also is named as a defendant. Dr. Siglow had no comment.

The lawsuit says that when Kelly came to the hospital she gave a history of having been exposed to someone who had died of meningitis several days earlier.

The defendants also were aware there was an outbreak of meningitis in the community, the lawsuit states.

Despite the history and other symptoms, Dr. Siglow and the hospital delayed administering antibiotics to Kelly until many hours after she appeared in the emergency room.

By the time the drugs were administered, it was too late, the lawsuit alleges. Kelly was transferred to Forum Health Tod Children's Hospital in Youngstown, where she died the next day.

"With a prompt and timely administration of antibiotic therapy to Kelly ... she would not have died," the lawsuit maintains.

Coblentz is asking for a jury trial and damages exceeding $25,000.

The hospital had no immediate comment.

2 student deaths

Kelly was one of two West Branch High School students who died last spring as a result of meningitis.

Jonathan Stauffer, 15, died May 26.

The deaths at West Branch, followed quickly by the hospitalization of an Alliance teen who contracted the disease, sparked widespread community fear and led to some area school districts closing early for the summer.

The outbreak also prompted the mass vaccination of nearly 6,000 students and staff members at some area high schools, including at West Branch and Salem.




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