A resident of the Alden Wentworth Rehab and Health Care Center in Chicago died after a narcotic overdose at the facility. The resident was was diagnosed with a variety of problems including, but not limited to, renal disease, type II diabetes, congestive heart failure, seizure disorder, arthritis, and asthma. He also had a history of substance abuse.
When the Alden Wentworth resident was released from the hospital to be sent back to the nursing home, his doctor noted under Important Medical Information “Do not give any narcotics.” The hospital discharge report listed a total of 17 non-narcotic medications that were prescribed for the resident.
Back at Alden Wentworth, however, the facility doctor was never given the hospital discharge note. According to policy, the floor nurse should have reviewed the note and passed it to the Assistant Director of Nurses, but it never happened. Instead, she told investigators that “Yes I saw the order dated 6-19-2010 that states patient is medically stable may discharge patient back to nursing home do not give any narcotics. I thought the order was for the hospital to not give narcotics. We did not notify the doctor about it because we thought it was for the hospital. No I did not call the hospital to investigate it.”
The resident was given a prescription for a fentanyl patch (narcotic) and vicodin (narcotic). After a short time, the dosage of the fentanyl patch was doubled. The resident died of a narcotic overdose shortly afterwards. The death certificate lists the cause of death to be Fentanyl Intoxication indicating that the medication error directly lead to his death.
Often, when people think of a typical drug abuser, they picture someone who takes drugs recreationally. Sadly, many drug addicts are people with painful conditions who are prescribed powerful drugs to manage pain and discomfort.
After extended use, they develop a tolerance for those drugs, and must ingest greater doses in order to achieve the same effect. This cycle repeats itself until the patient is ingesting extremely dangerous quantities of narcotic drugs. There are drugs that contain no narcotics. Not all of them work for all people, and a great deal of trial and error is often required before finding a solution that works.
If you suspect that a loved one is the victim of a medication error at an Illinois nursing home or hospital, we can help you uncover the truth. At my law offices our Chicago nursing home lawyers have years of experience investigating medication errors. Contact us for help.