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Unnecessary opioid patch leads to medical malpractice claim

Some Pennsylvania residents who have loved ones in health care centers are concerned about the level of care they receive. Such a facility in another state was recently sued by the executor of the estate of a patient who died at the facility in November 2014. The medical malpractice lawsuit alleges that the defendants administered an unnecessary and powerful opioid painkiller that rendered the patient debilitated for the 18 months leading up to her death.

According to court documents, the ambulatory and alert woman was admitted to the facility in May 2013. The plaintiff alleges that, despite the fact that she suffered no pain and required no medication, an employee of the defendant attached a medication patch to the patient's chest. The patch released the powerful fentanyl opioid over the following 72 hours. This allegedly happened three days after her admittance to the facility.

It is further alleged that the patient's daughter and great-granddaughter visited her another three days later to find her unresponsive and unable to speak. According to the complaint, this is the condition in which the woman spent the following 18 months. From that day until she died in November 2014, she could not feed herself, walk or converse again.

On behalf of the woman's estate, more than $25,000 is sought in the recovery of damages. The health care center is accused of medical malpractice and negligence in the administration of medication and failure to notice the deteriorating condition of the patient. Families in Pennsylvania whose loved ones in health care centers are subjected to negligent or substandard care may have viable medical malpractice claims. Consulting with an experienced medical malpractice attorney may be the most appropriate step to take to evaluate the allegations and pursue lawsuits if deemed viable.

Source:, "Lawsuit claims drug error incapacitated woman", Isaac Groves, June 9, 2016

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