The family of an elderly Oklahoma woman says she died after she broke her hip at a faith-healing service and the family has filed a $5 million lawsuit against the television evangelist who ran the service.
However, officials of the church run by evangelist Benny Hinn, of Orlando, Fla., denied charges by the family that the woman had been denied medical attention.
The officials said the woman, Ella Peppard, 85, of Oklahoma City, had declined treatment for the injury suffered during a healing service last September.
Peppard's family says she was injured when Hinn knocked another parishioner into her during the service and that she died 15 days later of blocked arteries produced by the fracture.
The suit says Hinn was striking people on the forehead, claiming they were "slain of the spirit," and that one of the people he struck toppled into Peppard.
Lawyer Carl Hughes of Oklahoma City said the church failed to call an ambulance or provide medical assistance. Any such assistance would have been "contrary" to the faith healing service, Hughes said.
Hughes said, Peppard eventually was taken to a local hospital, where surgeons implanted a prosthesis in her left hip. She was later transferred to a second hospital where she died Oct. 3, Hughes said.
The lawsuit seeks $2.5 million in actual damages plus $2.5 million in punitive damages from Hinn, his company Benny Hinn Ministries Inc. and the Faith Tabernacle Association, Inc.