Akron Hospital Accused of Restraining Man to Get Blood, Urine Samples

The Columbus Dispatch

Friday, October 5, 2007 9:11 a.m.

AKRON, Ohio (AP) – A lawsuit accuses a doctor and others in a hospital emergency room of restraining a man against his will and forcibly removing blood and urine samples to be used as evidence in a drunken driving case.

Straton Kephart, 21, was blocked from leaving Akron City Hospital by a security guard, pushed onto a gurney and was immobilized with restraints while a doctor used a syringe to withdraw blood from his arm and a nurse used a catheter to drain urine from his bladder, the lawsuit said.

Kephart, who had been the driver in a single-car crash and was taken to the hospital by ambulance, is seeking $7 million in punitive damages. The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Summit County Common Pleas Court, alleges assault and battery and civil rights violations.

Kephart said in the lawsuit that he rode along in the ambulance only as reassurance to a passenger injured in the October 2006 crash.

At the hospital, Tallmadge police officer Jeremy McGee began questioning Kephart about the accident and requested that he submit to a blood-alcohol test, the lawsuit said.

When Kephart was denied the opportunity to speak to an attorney, a security guard stood in the doorway of the emergency room to prevent Kephart from leaving, the lawsuit said.

Once the doctor and nurse entered, Kephart said he was pushed onto the gurney. His shouts for the medical procedures to stop were ignored, according to the lawsuit.

Mike Bernstein, a spokesman for the Summa Health System, which operates the hospital, said officials had not received notification of the lawsuit and declined comment.

Tallmadge Law Director Penny Taylor said he had not reviewed the details of the lawsuit and also declined comment.