Nurse Named in Suit Feels It Was Wrong: Suit Over Baby’s Death is Settled

By Ken Retherford DAILY Staff Writer

Sandra Hesterly no longer wears her Decatur General Hospital employee identification tag. She introduces herself to new mothers only as “Sandy” when she enters their rooms on the obsterics ward.

Her life had changed dramatically since January when she was named as S. Hesterly in a lawsuit filed in Morgan County Circuit Court by attorney for Richard and Stacy Schuman. The Schumans are the parents of 2-day old Bryan Allen Schuman who died at Decatur General in September 1988 from an alleged overdose of penicillin.

The lawsuit has been settled out of court for $200,000 and a stipulation that removes Decatur General and Mrs. S. Hesterly from the suit is on its way to Morgan County, attorneys for the hospital and the Schumans said on Tuesday. The firm that manufactured the penicillin, Eli Lilley and Co. Inc. of Indianapolis, remains a defendant in a $10 million lawsuit.

Circuit court offices in Morgan County were closed today for Thomas Jefferson’s birthday, but attorney Allen Brinkley, associated with the firm that represents the Schuman’s, said today he “doubts” the stipulation has been received by the court.
But Mrs. Hesterly, a registered nurse at Decatur General for the past 3 ½ years, said her reputation has been damaged by the suit, even though she was not at the hospital when the injection was allegedly administered.

The nurse who was on duty is no longer employed in the nursery but still works in the hospital. Mrs. Hesterly said it was her bad luck to have been the charge nurse in the nursery the day before the infant died. She said that she received the original medication order and started the medication. Hers was the only signature on the infant’s patient chart, she said.

“The Schuman’s baby was not assigned to me, but I was the charge RN. When the intravenous medication was in order, I started it because I was in charge.”