Fatal Nursing Home Drug Overdose

Our client was admitted to a Kentucky nursing home facility for rehabilitation services following a right femur fracture repair performed at Sts. Mary and Elizabeth Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky. While a resident at the facility, our client was overdosed on narcotics on eleven separate occasions. Twice, he required emergent medical attention and hospitalization. The final time, he sadly passed away. As a result of this negligence, our client suffered violations of his rights afforded under Kentucky’s Resident’s Statute, physical and mental pain and suffering, additional medical expenses associated with his untimely death.

What the Record Shows

Two days after our client was admitted, the staff at the nursing home documented that he was very sleepy and would not arouse easily. Later that evening, the staff documented that they were unable to arouse the patient, and that he was pale and his eyes were fixed and dilated. His blood pressure was 60/20. Due to his altered mental status and critical condition, emergency medical responders were called and he was transferred to Jewish Hospital Southwest Emergency Room.

At Jewish Hospital Southwest, he was treated for altered and decreased mental status and hypoglycemia. In fact, it was noted in the admission record that he was so confused that he did not recognize his wife. His condition improved after administration of Narcan (for the suspected overdose) and dextrose. He was discharged back to the nursing home three days later.

The day of his readmittance he was again found non-responsive. The staff at the nursing home was unable to get his blood pressure and EMS was called. For the second time, he was taken to Jewish Hospital Southwest Emergency Room for altered mental status and hypoglycemia.

At the Emergency Room, Narcan was administered twice and then he was transferred to Sts. Mary and Elizabeth Hospital for admission with a diagnosis of acute mental status changes, probable narcotic overdose, hypoglycemia due to not eating well because of altered mental status, and acute kidney injury with dehydration.

In the discharge summary, the treating doctor stated that our client was “apparently getting Percocet two pills every four hours, when in reality it was written for him to get one pill every four hours.”

Furthermore, it is clear from the nursing home's medication administration sheet—which clearly states the correct dose was one tablet every four hours—that our client actually received two pills. In a period of four days, he was given the incorrect dose of powerful narcotics on eleven occasions. Finally, due to his advanced age, he succumbed to respiratory failure and kidney failure and passed away.

​​​Kentucky’s Residents’ Rights Statute KRS 216.515 mandates that residents of long-term care facilities are treated appropriately. By giving the wrong dosage of powerful narcotics on eleven occasions, the nursing home and its staff violated our client's rights under the statute.

Our firm fought hard to obtain a settlement for our client's widow. With our team of nursing home experts we were able to obtain a quick resolution.

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Matthew L. White
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Founder & Partner of Louisville Personal Injury Law Firm Gray & White Law