Nursing Home Morphine Overdose Lawsuit Results in $700k Jury Award
A Missouri jury has awarded $700,000 to the family of a man who died from a morphine overdose at a nursing home in St. Louis County, finding that the facility was responsible for the mysterious death.
The case involved a nursing home wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of William Christopher Jones, 49, a mentally ill man who died in 2009 in the Normandy Nursing Center.
Jones suffered a fatal overdose of morphine, even though he was never prescribed the drug. To date, it is unknown how the morphine got into his body and no one has been identified as administering the fatal dose. However, the family argued that the fact he received a morphine overdose while at the facility was a sign of nursing home neglect.
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Employees of Normandy testified during trial that pain medications were left on a nurses’ station counter. Although the management maintained that the nursing home’s morphine supply was accounted for, plaintiff attorneys argued that because Jones never left the facility, the morphine had to come from somewhere inside the nursing home.
Following trial in Missouri state court, a jury decided on Monday that the nursing home was liable for Jones’ death and awarded $700,000 to Ronald Jones, his brother, and Jamie Jones, his nephew.
The wrongful death damage award will likely be reduced under Missouri statutory caps, which could lower the verdict to $350,000. However, an attorney for the nursing home has indicated that an appeal is likely.
Normandy is rated as a below-average nursing home by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and was investigated by the Missouri Protection and Advocacy Services in 2011 for claims of nursing home dehydration and malnutrition. The agency determined that Normandy failed to provide adequate care to a 37-year-old resident as a result of that investigation.
KateJuly 25, 2013 at 5:04 pm
My mother died in Luther Manor Nursing Center on 6/24/13. The primary physician that she had for years is also the Chairman of the Board. She had not been feeling well for nearly two months, but her physician did nothing to assist her (other than a making nursing home rounds every other month) The physician attempted to state that she died from congestive heart failure, but when the daughter tol[Show More]My mother died in Luther Manor Nursing Center on 6/24/13. The primary physician that she had for years is also the Chairman of the Board. She had not been feeling well for nearly two months, but her physician did nothing to assist her (other than a making nursing home rounds every other month) The physician attempted to state that she died from congestive heart failure, but when the daughter told him that she was gurgling and coughed up blood, he changed COD to MI, major depression, etc. It took nearly 2 wks to get death certificate signed. The staff at the nursing center also said she was dehydrated and oxygen was very low. Also patient signed a Do Not Rescusitate without knowledge of family members and circumvented a Medical Power of Attorney. The facility is more than reluctant to produce this document even after request and were quite defensive about it.
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