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Accidental Death – Young Mother Dies of Opioid Overdose

A Confidential Settlement was Reached

Mrs. K went to the emergency department for an acute flare-up of diverticulitis and was admitted to the hospital for pain management. Overnight, she received several low doses of morphine, which helped control her pain. By the next morning, however, the same dosage of morphine was no longer providing pain relief. Instead of increasing the dosage, the nurse practitioner in charge of her care switched to a different medication called Dilaudid, which is seven times more potent than morphine. Unfortunately, the nurse did not make any orders to monitor Mrs. K for potential adverse effects of Dilaudid, such as respiratory depression.

When Mrs. K’s vital signs became abnormal – a sign of respiratory depression –the nursing staff failed to recognize this trend and notify the physician. Mrs. K eventually stopped breathing altogether, and her family yelled for help. A Code Blue was called, but it was too late. Mrs. K never regained consciousness and died the next day. Since no autopsy was performed, the hospital refused to admit that Mrs. K died of a medication error or in other words, an opioid overdose.

The Eisen Law Firm filed suit and retained top-notch experts. To avoid facing these experts – and The Eisen Law Firm – at trial, a confidential settlement was reached on the courthouse steps just a few days before trial.