Morphine Overdose Kills Nursing Home Patient

Morphine Overdose Kills Nursing-Home PatientOn April 20, a jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff and against a north St. Louis County nursing home after a mentally ill patient died when he received a fatal dose of morphine. The 45-year-old man had never been prescribed the opiate derivative and passed away at a hospital in 2009. Although his death was originally ruled as a heart attack, a toxicology report revealed a fatal level of morphine in his system. However, it is unknown how the patient ended up with the medication overdose.

Family Files Lawsuit Against Nursing Home

The man’s brother and nephew filed the lawsuit against the care facility. Their attorney insisted that the man was unable to leave the facility and so he must have somehow gotten the drug there or from the staff. Witnesses testified that pain medication was sometimes left out at the nurses’ station and that some patients received morphine shots. The jury awarded the plaintiffs $700,000.

Criminal Charges not Filed

Although law enforcement personnel looked into the man’s death, they concluded that all of the morphine in the facility was accounted for. No charges were filed against the nursing home, and state health authorities observed no violations related to the medication overdose. The attorney for the nursing home observed that the damages might be lowered because of Missouri laws related to malpractice. She also suggested that they would appeal the decision. She further observed that the employees at the nursing home do their best on a daily bases to provide care for patients with a wide range of challenging health care issues.

Facility Received Citations

The nursing home administrator did not comment on the lawsuit. The facility was rated lower than average at two out of five stars through Medicare, which relates to overall staffing and safety concerns. The home received a citation in December from state officials for health issues related to the excessive weight loss of several patients. The Missouri Protection and Advocacy Services looks into neglect and abuse charges of individuals who suffer with disabilities. In 2011, they looked into accusations that the nursing home failed to properly care for a 37-year-old patient who was hospitalized due to dehydration, kidney failure and allegations of poor nutrition. They found the facility did not give the proper medical treatment to the patient and planned to inform the state.



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Jonathan did a great job helping my family navigate through a lengthy lawsuit involving my grandmother's death in a nursing home. Through every step of the case, Jonathan kept my family informed of the progression of the case. Although our case eventually settled at a mediation, I really was impressed at how well prepared Jonathan was to take the case to trial. Lisa
After I read Jonathan’s Nursing Home Blog, I decided to hire him to look into my wife’s treatment at a local nursing home. Jonathan did a great job explaining the process and the laws that apply to nursing homes. I immediately felt at ease and was glad to have him on my side. Though the lawsuit process was at times frustrating, Jonathan reassured me, particularly at my deposition. I really felt like Jonathan cared about my wife’s best interests, and I think that came across to the lawyers for the nursing home. Eric
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