Families of patients who died 20 years ago hoping charges against respiratory therapist will bring answers
CHILICOTHE, Mo. (KCTV) - Nine patients died suddenly within a three-month span at Hedrick Medical Center in 2002.
Jennifer Hall, a 41-year-old respiratory therapist who worked at the hospital during that time, has now been charged with intentionally killing one of them 20 years later.
Charging documents stated that Fran Franco, who was in Hall’s care, died suddenly of cardiac collapse. An analysis of her tissue samples found morphine and succinylcholine, an anesthesia drug, that had not been prescribed. Police said the drugs caused Franco “to suffer a ghastly death from suffocation while still maintaining full consciousness and awareness.”
Police noted that, at the time, “...nursing staff believed Hall was responsible for the patient deaths.”
Families of the other patients now hope the investigation will bring them more answers.
Fred Warner’s father, Clarence, died a month before Franco at Hedrick Medical Center. Clarence Warner was a navy veteran and a retired high school principal.
Warner said his father had been admitted with a heart problem but had seemingly recovered. He said Clarence was scheduled for release, but abruptly took a turn the night before.
“It was sudden and very unexpected,” Warner said.
Warner and his family did not know about the other deaths until a coroner contacted them several years later. His family was part of a wrongful death lawsuit that was later dismissed due to statues of limitations expiring.
“I feel like some deaths occurred that could have been stopped,” he said.
On Tuesday Hall’s attorney told KCTV5 that he believed his client was not responsible for Franco’s death, and that she would surrender herself to police. On Wednesday Chillicothe police told KCTV5 they still did not have her in custody.
Copyright 2022 KCTV. All rights reserved.