In 2009, a nursing home resident was rushed to the hospital, barely clinging to life. Acting on limited information, the hospital staff attempted to treat the 46-year-old for a heart attack, but he died soon after. Postmortem toxicology tests revealed that the man did not die from an ordinary heart attack, but a morphine overdose.
The news left family members devastated and baffled. The man, who suffered from mental illness, was not prescribed morphine. Did someone in the nursing home inject him with lethal levels of the drug? Were morphine pills left unattended where he could have accessed them? Did a nurse make a fatal medication error?
Sadly, the deceased man’s family never got answers to these questions. However, a jury believed that nursing home negligence caused the man’s death and awarded his surviving family members $700,000.
Damage Caps Deal Unjust Blow To Grieving Family
The victim’s family wasn’t through all of its misfortune, yet. Missouri malpractice damage caps cut the $700,000 award in half. Apparently, $350,000 is what a 46-year-old’s life is worth, according to state lawmakers.
The decimated damages award won’t bring their loved one back, but at least it holds the nursing home accountable for the wrongful death; no criminal charges were filed against the facility.
Still, the award gives the family an opportunity to do something in honor of the deceased. Perhaps the family will create a scholarship or memorial in the victim’s name.
If you’ve lost a loved one because of suspected nursing home negligence, contact an experienced Michigan nursing home malpractice attorney to help you explore your legal options.
McKeen & Associates, PC, is a Detroit law firm that represents nursing home negligence victims throughout the U.S.
Source: stltoday.com, “Jury Awards $700K In Man’s Overdose At St. Louis County Nursing Home,” Blythe Bernhard, April 24, 2013