Pennsylvania Hospital Sued over Exhumation

June 14, 2011

A woman is suing a northwestern Pennsylvania hospital, saying she was subjected to emotional distress because the facility didn’t order an autopsy of her daughter, forcing the body to be exhumed 43 days later.

Kelli Combs Meerhoff wants at least $50,000 in damages from Corry Memorial Hospital, where her 21-year-old daughter Carly Combs died in April 2009 after being found unresponsive at home.

The Erie County Coroner didn’t order an autopsy because he suspected a drug overdose, but later had the body exhumed when toxicology tests came back negative.

Meerhoff’s lawsuit says all that could have been avoided had hospital officials ordered an autopsy, or at least informed her of her options to pursue one.

The hospital’s attorney says the suit is without merit.

The coroner later determined Combs’ daughter died of a rare metabolic problem.

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