METROPOLIS — Donna Wimmer may have wanted to die. That’s what her husband, Daniel Wimmer, said he believed.
The disabled, 53-year-old woman’s kidneys were failing. She required once-a-week dialysis, a painful procedure that took several hours and required her to travel from her home in Metropolis in Massac County to a hospital in Paducah, Ky., about a half-hour’s drive. She missed at least five sessions in 2009, the year she died, according to hospital reports.
Daniel Wimmer said his wife actually missed dozens of sessions. He said he was not responsible for failing to take her to the hospital.
“You can’t make somebody go if they don’t want to go,” he said. “She was ready to pass.”
Donna Wimmer died Nov. 3, 2009, less than 24 hours after she was hospitalized in critical condition.
On the day of her admission, a social worker from Western Baptist Medical Center in Paducah called the hotline for the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Human Services to allege that Daniel Wimmer had refused for months to take his wife to dialysis.
A summary of the hotline call showed that several staffers at the hospital had been concerned for months with Wimmer’s failure to get to her appointments and the effect it would have on her health.
But none called the hotline.
According to the call summary, the hospital social worker who finally called was concerned that if Wimmer survived and made it out of the intensive care unit, she would return to the same pattern of missing dialysis appointments.
But the OIG deemed that the allegations were “ineligible” for investigation when Donna Wimmer died the next day.
“The allegation is ineligible,” an investigator’s report stated. “Therefore, we stopped this investigative assessment process without a finding.”
After her death, Daniel Wimmer, 55, sat shirtless in a worn easy chair, chain smoking cigarettes amid clutter and trash in the Metropolis trailer that had also been Donna’s home.
Wimmer said he was falsely accused.
“She didn’t want to go,” he said. “She was a very stubborn person. Nobody could make her do something she didn’t want to do.”