In recent nursing home news that our Baltimore nursing home neglect attorneys have been following, a California jury decided this week that a patient who was given a morphine overdose while recovering from surgery at a nursing facility should be awarded over $3 million from the nursing facility and a podiatrist, for nursing home negligence.
Barbara Lefforge, 57, reportedly entered the St. Edna nursing facility in the fall of 2007 to recover from surgery after a tendon was repaired. When Lefforge was out of surgery less than 6 hours later, she was given an accidental overdose of morphine, after her podiatrist ordered 50 mg of morphine for pain management instead of 50 mg of Demerol. Lefforge reportedly suffered the overdose at home, and wasn’t taken to the hospital until the next day, which led to personal injury and brain damage.
Lefforge was awarded $3.1 million by the jury—$2 million for suffering and pain, and $1.1 million in cost for medical care, and the punitive damage amount is still pending. The jury found that the nursing facility is responsible for 90 percent of the medication error, while her podiatrist is being held responsible for 10 percent of the error. Lefforge’s nursing home negligence attorney stated that the nursing facility should have discovered the prescription error made by the podiatrist before the medication was administered. The pharmacist who filled the prescription reportedly even warned that the medication dosage was too strong, but the nurses at St. Edna, who were not even able to retrieve the entire medication dose for Lefforge, continued by acquiring the extra 30mg of morphine from an emergency office supply at the hospital.
Morphine is used as a narcotic pain reliever for moderate to severe pain treatment. It works by dulling the brain’s pain perception center. Symptoms of an overdose of morphine could include confusion, clammy and cold skin, a weak pulse, severe drowsiness, fainting or shallow breathing, or breathing that stops. An individual who has overdosed on morphine should seek medical attention immediately.
If a nursing home or doctor incorrectly prescribes morphine it could result in a morphine overdose and cause patient injury or death, in which case the nursing home could be liable for nursing home negligence or wrongful death.
At Lebowitz and Mzhen, our Maryland nursing home negligence attorneys are knowledgeable about representing victims of nursing home negligence and medication error in Maryland and the Washington D.C. area. We are dedicated to making sure that victims and their families receive the personal injury compensation they deserve. For a free consultation, contact Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC, today.
Woman Injured at O.C. Nursing Home Gets $3.1 Million, The Orange County Register, August 19, 2010
Nursing Facility Morphine Overdose Costs $3M, The Associated Press/Mercury News, August 20, 2010
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