Lawsuit: Iowa man died after his oxygen was turned off at hospital

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A hospital bed (Nexstar, file)

WEST UNION, Iowa (AP) — A lawsuit filed against an Iowa hospital alleges that a 77-year-old man who was being treated for pneumonia died after the oxygen machine feeding his nasal tube was shut off.

The Des Moines Register reports that David Hackley’s relatives sued Gundersen Health System on Friday over his January 2020 death. They say Hackley had been improving and that the Gunderson Palmer Lutheran Hospital in West Union was making arrangements to discharge him to a skilled nursing home for rehab before his supplemental oxygen was turned off.

The lawsuit describes Hackley, who was the longtime chief of police in West Union, as being mentally disoriented and physically in pain after the prolonged oxygen deprivation. Within two days, he was dead.

In their lawsuit, Hackley’s wife, children and estate accuse Palmer Lutheran and various employees of negligence. The wrongful death suit also includes claims that a second patient at Palmer was found with oxygen deactivated after Hackley’s death.

His daughter, Dina Taylor, who was a nurse in the same facility at the time, said the family wants to see better training and processes at the hospital.

La Crosse-based Gundersen Health System, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the newspaper Friday.

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