A Respiratory Therapist Enters A Guilty Plea In The 2 Patients’ Deaths

In connection with the deaths of two patients at a Missouri hospital two decades ago, a former respiratory therapist entered a guilty plea.

According to The Kansas City Star, Jennifer Hall, 42, who was previously charged with two counts of first-degree murder, pled guilty on Friday to less counts of first-degree involuntary manslaughter in the deaths of David Wesley Harper, 37, and Fern Franco, 75. Additionally, she entered a guilty plea to a charge of second-degree assault.

Nine patients, including Franco and Harper, passed away at the Hedrick Medical Center in Chillicothe over a number of months in 2002 in what the charging documents refer to as “medically suspicious” incidents.

Additionally, there were 18 cardiac arrests or “Code Blue” episodes between December 2001, when Hall began working at the hospital, and May 2002, when she was placed on administrative leave, up from a previous norm of one per year.

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After an examination of Franco’s tissue samples revealed the presence of morphine and a potent muscle relaxant used in anesthesia, the case was given new life. Her doctors never prescribed nor ordered any medication for her, according to the investigators.

Due to her proximity to the ill patients, her access to lethal medications, and the fact that she informed personnel of every patient’s cardiac emergency, according to court documents, some hospital workers concluded Hall was accountable.

Prior to now, Hall had vehemently denied any connection.

Later, the hospital was sued by the families of patients who passed away while Hall worked there.

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