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Death in Sioux Falls detox center sparks lawsuit

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SIOUX FALLS (AP) — The daughter of a woman who died in the Minnehaha County Detoxification Center is suing in federal court, saying workers did not properly care for her mother.

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Charleen Karr, 48, died Nov. 18, 2012. Authorities said she was taken to the detox center in Sioux Falls after consuming rubbing alcohol and telling a helpline that she was trying to commit suicide.

Her daughter, Bethany Karr, claims in her wrongful death lawsuit that center workers left her mother unmonitored for more than three hours and tried to cover up that fact. She is suing the county, the private company that administraters of the center for the county and four employees, seeking unspecified damages.

"Karr's condition, toxic overdose of isopropyl alcohol, was easily treatable with timely and proper medical care, and her death while under the complete care and control of the Detox Center and the four named employees thereof would not ordinarily have occurred but for the negligent, grossly negligent, reckless, and deliberately indifferent conduct of the said detox center caregivers," the lawsuit states.

Attorneys are still reviewing the lawsuit that was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court and will respond later, County Administrative Officer Ken McFarland told the Argus Leader newspaper.

At the time of Karr's death, the detox center was on probation with state regulators following an inspection that found, among other things, that detox staff were not properly documenting the vital signs of patients. The state lifted its probation in April.

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