NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The wife of a man who caught fire in a Nashville hospital and later died has filed a lawsuit against the medical center.
On Thanksgiving 2022, Bobby Ray Stark, 64, was in TriStar Centennial Medical Center for treatment of bed sores and a foot infection. Part of his foot was amputated and he underwent a balloon lithotripsy to enlarge the veins to get blood flow to his foot.
According to the wrongful death lawsuit, Bobby Ray was blind with a history of artery disease and right-sided weakness from a stroke.
The wrongful death lawsuit claims Bobby Ray had on a non-rebreather mask due to his poor condition. Bobby Ray coded and staff had to shock him with a defibrillator to restart his heart.
The lawsuit claims hospital staff did not properly apply electrode pads to his chest and did not stop the flow of oxygen, which resulted in a spark when his heart was shocked. Staff did not move away the non-breather mask, did not allow for sufficient time for the oxygen to dissipate not follow hospital policy, according to the lawsuit.
Bobby Ray suffered significant burns from the fire and died later that night.
“Then they started the paddles, and it just blew up, everything,” Bobby Ray’s wife, Kathy Stark, previously told News 2. “I saw that and I just burst out.”
She said she saw flames cover her husband’s body.
“He got burned in the throat, the face, the head, the chest and his hands. And he got burnt really bad, he was on fire, and I said he’s on fire, put him out,” Kathy recalled.
“They even made the comment to her, she’s repeated it to me many times of this has never happened before,” said Joyce Feakes, Bobby Ray’s daughter. “They need to make sure that that doesn’t happen to somebody else, so somebody else doesn’t lose their husband, their best friend, their dad. And even worse, we lost him on Thanksgiving.”
Kathy is seeking a jury trial and compensation for her husband’s death. Kathy did not work and relied on Bobby Ray’s income. His family has set up a GoFundMe to help her. She has since relocated to Florida.