According to an article on Cleveland.com, Normandy Manor, a Rocky River, Ohio nursing home, was accused of giving a resident 20 times the prescribed dosage of oxycodone causing her to overdose and die. The victim’s family has filed a wrongful death case and the nursing home is going to settle the lawsuit and pay $375,000. Susanne Lawrence, 83 died in 2015.
Cleveland.com reports that:
Lawrence died July 7, 2015, after the nursing home’s staff gave her 500 milligrams of the medication over a span of several hours. A doctor had prescribed that she receive just 25 milligrams in that time period, records show. In late June 2015, she began suffering from pneumonia. Her doctor ordered antibiotics and later prescribed 5 milligrams of oxycodone orally every four hours for pain, court records and a state investigative report show. Instead, on July 6 and 7, 2015, nurses gave her five individual dosages of 100 milligrams of oxycodone, records show.
In a care facility, this is considered negligence. Nursing home residents almost always require the care of professionals for daily living needs, medical needs, or cognitive needs, which is why they are in nursing homes in the first place. When a nursing home is careless, and injures a resident, your lawyer will have to prove the injuries were caused by the negligence.
What Is Considered a Wrongful Death Cases in Ohio?
While the resident’s case is for pain and suffering, in Ohio, the wrongful death damages for the resident’s family involves their loss of relationship and mental anguish—including grief—from losing their loved one. The wrongful death case is based on a statute, Ohio Revised Code Chapter 2125.
Beyond proving the negligence, and that negligence caused an injury, you have to prove the injury caused the person’s death. That is not easy when there may be days or weeks between an injury and death. Especially with the average nursing home resident having medical issues already. Unless the medical examiner is informed about the injury or negligence—not terribly likely—they might determine the cause of death was related to those underlying conditions.
The nursing home may fight the issue of whether their carelessness caused the resident’s death, even if they admit negligence and injury. By admitting negligence and injury, the nursing home’s lawyers hope to have jury cut off their liability with the death. This is called “causation”: whether the jury finds the nursing home caused the death.
Fines and Settlement
Cleveland.com reports that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) launched an investigation and they found that the nursing home failed to check the medication that they were giving her. The article reports:
Facility nurses failed to check liquid medication labels to determine the correct dose prior to administering narcotic medication.”
The federal agency fined Normandy Manor $9,620 in connection with Lawrence’s death.
The doctor who prescribed the oxycodone, Kishor Patel, wrote in the death certificate that Lawrence died of cardiorespiratory failure, which was caused by pneumonia.
Records filed by attorneys for Lawrence’s family called the determination “at best, misleading.” The records said medical documents, as well as a state investigation, “confirmed that Ms. Lawrence death was caused by a drug overdose.”
In addition to the fines by CMS, the Ohio Department of Health has also fined the nursing home an additional $50,000. While fines are in place to punish nursing homes and help prevent negligence and abuse, sometimes they do not work. Often times nursing homes are owned by large corporations, and the fines are just drops in the bucket for them.I t is important to check the ratings of your loved one’s care facility and other facilities owned by the larger company. You can check the rating of Normandy Manor, here.
If you are concerned about the kind of care your loved one has received at their care facility, you can contact me here and we can begin to discuss the process of a wrongful death case. You can also comment below if you would like to begin a discussion regarding your case.
You can read the full article here.