Family suing Clay hospital for malpractice

Family allegedly finds maggots in mother's mouth

Jesse Hollett and Eric Cravey
Posted 7/6/16

ORANGE PARK – A family is suing a Clay County hospital over malpractice they say allowed maggots to hatch in their 76-year old mother’s mouth.

Last Thursday, the Mooneyham family filed a suit …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Don't have an ID?


Print subscribers

If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.

Non-subscribers

Click here to see your options for subscribing.

Single day pass

You also have the option of purchasing 24 hours of access, for $1.00. Click here to purchase a single day pass.

Family suing Clay hospital for malpractice

Family allegedly finds maggots in mother's mouth

Posted

ORANGE PARK – A family is suing a Clay County hospital over malpractice they say allowed maggots to hatch in their 76-year old mother’s mouth.

Last Thursday, the Mooneyham family filed a suit against Orange Park Medical Center for financial relief in response to allegedly finding maggots crawling on and in Dorothy Mooneyham’s body on three separate occasions.

The lawsuit claims OPMC did not properly care for Dorothy Mooneyham while she lay intubated in the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit and allowed maggots to hatch in her presence on three separate occasions.

“These female blowflies lay between 150 to 250 eggs every time, so that’s the contention, that there was elderly abuse and secondly that there was intentional affliction of emotional distress to the family members Fred and Patty Mooneyham because of the outrageous acts of the hospital,” said Frank Ashton, the family’s attorney.

According to Ashton, if the hospital had given proper oral care as they should every two hours, then the fly larvae wouldn’t have hatched to begin with.

After a 90-day pre-suit period, Ashton will file a medical malpractice claim and amend the lawsuit. Currently, the lawsuit does not list a specific financial amount, but Ashton adds he will leave the amount of financial relief up to the jury.

“How does this happen in a closed ICU unit?” Fred Mooneyham said. “Within a few hours you had a handful in her mouth, some in her nose, then a second incident of finding maggots in her bed. How could this happen?”

Dorothy Mooneyham was admitted into the hospital in early November to robotically remove a lesion on her lung. The lung cancer was operable and no one expected that she would later die from complications.

On Nov. 25, following respiratory difficulties and a heart attack, she was moved into the ICU, where she was intubated and placed on a ventilator to regulate her breathing while she was unresponsive.

Five days later, nurses suctioned maggots in her mouth during a routine oral exam. A few hours later, nurses found a maggot on Dorothy Mooneyham’s bed sheets. Fred Mooneyham, of course, was astonished.

The University of Florida’s entomology department later identified the maggots as blowfly larvae. Their gestation period is about 48 hours and Dorothy Mooneyham was never moved, so the fly must have laid the eggs while was still in ICU, Ashton said.

On Dec. 3, doctors found another maggot while performing a vaginal exam, this time it had burrowed into her skin “on skin of inner left thigh is a wiggling worm?” the medical report stated.

The hospital has reacted mostly in denial about the events their staff recorded in their hospital records.

“We are aware of the outrageous and inaccurate allegations that have been made,” OPMC responded in a statement. “While we understand the grief of losing a loved one and we offer our condolences to this family, we are proud of the skilled and compassionate care out team provides every day to our patients, and we will vehemently defend this case in court.”

Fred Mooneyham recalls shortly after surgery his mother was already trotting laps around the hospital, like her old athletic self.

He hopes to use his mother’s passing to shed light on the plight of caretakers like himself, a firefighter, who can’t sit beside his relative 24 hours a day to take care of her.

“When you go into a hospital, all you’re worried about is whether your family member is being taken care of, making sure they’re coming out alive,” Fred Mooneyham said. “Her dignity was stolen, and I don’t want that to happen to anyone. If there’s anything that my sister and I want anybody to know is that this is about families more than anything else, and people have to be held accountable. They have to be.”

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment