Jump to content

Why it's important to pay your bills


B-Bottom

Recommended Posts

  • Members

http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070126/LOCAL18/701260451

 

Family sues IPL over mother's death

 

Utility disputes daughter's claim that woman using oxygen wasn't told power would be cut

 

By Rob Schneider and Vic Ryckaert

rob.schneider@indystar.com

 

Sonya Abrahamson knew she was in trouble when she dialed 911, but when the emergency operator answered, she didn't have enough breath to complete the call.

 

 

Emergency personnel arrived at her home in Decatur Township 13 minutes later. They found her unconscious on the floor with the telephone in her hand.

Abrahamson, 57, who suffered from chronic pulmonary disease, was taken to Community Hospital South, where she died.

The family is blaming Indianapolis Power & Light Co. for causing her death when utility workers cut off her power, leaving her without a functioning electricity-operated oxygen machine.

IPL spokeswoman Crystal Livers-Powers said the power was disconnected because the bill had not been paid.

Abrahamson's death on July 6 was a "direct result" of the utility shutting down power to her Southwestside home without proper notice, Indianapolis attorney Hugh G. Baker Jr. contends in a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Marion Superior Court.

The power company, Baker claims, knew Abrahamson was on the oxygen machine because it had sent a worker to the home two months before her death to disconnect the service. The utility worker went inside the house and saw the equipment, Baker said. The family said arrangements were made to make payments.

It was after this visit that the family was given information and forms to be filled out by a medical professional, officially giving the power company notice of Abrahamson's medical needs, the family said.

Livers-Powers said those forms were never returned to IPL.

IPL said the family continued to be delinquent in paying the bills and, by July 6, was several hundred dollars behind.

The family received two disconnection notices, Livers-Powers said, and an IPL worker knocked on the door before disconnecting service July 6, but no one answered. The family says two other family members were home at the time and never heard anyone at the door.

State law says power companies must postpone cutting off service for at least 10 days to customers who use oxygen and other medical devices. The law says a patient must give the power company written notice from a doctor.

After Abrahamson's death, the family paid the bill but defaulted on a payment plan and became delinquent again. The service was disconnected Nov. 9. IPL records indicate no payment has been made since then, and the service remains off.

Abrahamson had suffered from pulmonary disease since the early 1990s but remained fully functioning as long as she was connected to an oxygen machine, her family said.

The night before her death, she had fixed dinner for her family, including her brother, Kenny Land, 53, a quadriplegic she had looked after in her home for years; her daughter, Jennifer Mills; and Mills' three children, Mills said.

The family had moved into their home in the 6800 block of Cordoba Drive two years ago, and it seemed to be a perfect fit. They bought it on contract, and it was big enough for Abrahamson and her brother to live downstairs and Mills and her children to live upstairs.

Mills said she and her mother worked on their scrapbooks the night before her mother died. Mills said the power was on when she left for work a little before 6 a.m., taking a lunch her mother had packed for her.

Mills believes her mother was asleep when the power was turned off and woke up to discover her oxygen machine was not working.

She reached for the telephone, but it was too late. "She didn't have enough time to do anything," Mills said.

With notice, her mother would have had time to use her portable oxygen machine, which was upstairs, Mills contended. "That's the reason I am so furious."

"Our sympathy goes out to the family," Livers-Powers said. The utility usually doesn't comment on litigation but decided to break from that practice in this case to educate others, she said.

Livers-Powers said customers with medical issues who face financial problems should contact IPL to work out payment plans or budget billing or to apply for assistance. People with medical issues should contact the company to receive forms to be filled out by medical professionals to put their situation on record.

That doesn't mean they don't have to pay their bills, but it allows IPL to give those customers additional warning of planned outages and information about what to do in unplanned ones, Livers-Powers said.

Baker said utility companies still must be held responsible for the consequences of their actions.

"There are hundreds of people in this city who face these problems every day," Baker said. "There has to be a safety network in our society to prevent this kind of thing from happening."

Call Star reporter Rob Schneider at (317) 444-6278.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070126/LOCAL18/701260451


Family sues IPL over mother's death


SNIP

 

Damn. That's stupid. They're going to cash in, because it'll end up costing the power company less cash to settle than to take the case to court.

 

Well, at least they'll have cash to pay their bill... :rolleyes:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

The power can go out for any reason, without prior notice. Some idiot at my work drove their car into the power transformer in the back parking lot. We didn't have power for several hours.

 

My mom has severe asthma and emphysema. She has a portable oxygen tank that she can "hook up to" if the power goes out.

 

Word to the wise... be prepared.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Here someone just sued the Cleveland Clinic for leaving a towel in their mother's chest after surgery. The CC settled out of court but not before stating that the towel may have helped preserve her! Too bad she was in great pain for 8 years and complained about her chest hurting all the time. Another set of doctors testified the towel prevented the lung from functioning at all.

 

Never get a Monday or Friday surgery.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • CMS Author

Let's all note that the family couldn't be bothered returning some simple forms to the utility to ensure Mom had electricity. But has had plenty of time to provide a lawyer with all the pertinent details for a lawsuit.

 

I'm with burdizzos....{censored} these people, and {censored} 'em hard. Even Mom was "fully functional" for years as long as she had the O2 workin'. She couldn't write out the forms and stick a stamp on the letter?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

*remembers to always remain useful when in burdizzos' presence....*

 

 

I wouldn't actually shoot my Dad, but I might give him a bunch of booze, tell him what a disappointment he's been and then leave a loaded pistol near by when I go. ;)

 

 

If I could get away with shooting worthless people, I'd never take a day off.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

 

Let's all note that the family couldn't be bothered returning some simple forms to the utility to ensure Mom had electricity. But has had plenty of time to provide a lawyer with all the pertinent details for a lawsuit.


I'm with burdizzos....{censored} these people, and {censored} 'em hard. Even Mom was "fully functional" for years as long as she had the O2 workin'. She couldn't write out the forms and stick a stamp on the letter?

 

 

 

*aims gun away from Craig*

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

 

Even Mom was "fully functional" for years as long as she had the O2 workin'. She couldn't write out the forms and stick a stamp on the letter?

 

 

And as the article states she and her fat daughter were {censored}ing with scrap books the night before she died. I guess that's much more important than paying for the power that keeps you alive. {censored} them. I'm curious how they are going to be able to afford to bury her

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

 

And as the article states she and her fat daughter were {censored}ing with scrap books the night before she died. I guess that's much more important than paying for the power that keeps you alive. {censored} them. I'm curious how they are going to be able to afford to bury her

 

 

My guess is that the funeral parlor could convince them to sell their hearts to offset the cost and these dumb mother{censored}ers would probably go along with it except for the fact that nothing is ever their fault and the power company owes them millions.

 

I'd like five minutes alone with their attorney.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...