Suit names doctors, nurse, specialty orthopedic service
Crawford County and Crawford County Memorial Hospital (CCMH) are the subject of a lawsuit filed by the estate of an individual who died at the hospital.
Thomas Plagge, an employee of Smithfield Foods, died on May 4.
The lawsuit was brought by his estate and Plagge’s widow, Blanca Plagge, administratrix of his estate.
Along with the county and the hospital, the lawsuit names locum tenens ER provider Eric Opheim, D.O.; Julie Nielsen, ARNP; Ruslan Safarov, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon with Tri State Specialists; and Tri State Specialists, LLP.
The lawsuit petition claims the named individuals are responsible for Plagge’s death because “the evaluation and treatment of Thomas Plagge … fell below the standard of care and was negligent,” which caused Plagge “to suffer pre-death physical pain and suffering, pre-death loss of bodily function, and pre-mature death.”
“The standard of care violations committed by Defendant Opheim were willful and wanton in nature and created an obvious risk that made harm to Thomas Plagge highly probable, and he was consciously indifference (sic) to the consequences of his conduct,” the petition states.
The petition does not provide details as to the nature and circumstances of why Plagge needed treatment at CCMH or details of his death.
The lawsuit says Plagge’s widow has suffered a loss of support and loss of consortium; his three minor children have suffered a loss of support and loss of companionship; and his estate has suffered a loss of accumulation of assets.
Crawford County and CCMH “are liable for damages of the plaintiff based upon agency relationship, and/or respondeat superior theory of liability between Crawford County and CCMH and Eric Opheim,” the petition states.
Respondeat superior is a legal doctrine in which an employer is responsible for the actions of its employees performed during the course of their employment.
The medical staff of CCMH is also liable for damages, for the above reason, according to the petition.
The petition asks that the court award damages that are fair and reasonable and will fully compensate Plagge’s estate for all losses, including punitive damages and other relief; a trial by jury is demanded.
The plaintiffs are represented in the matter by Hamilton Law Firm of Storm Lake.