Morphine Error Leads to Death

Medical professionals are humans and make human errors at times. These errors can lead to charges of malpractice and neglect on behalf of the medical staff. When such errors are committed in skilled nursing facilities, their patients are more at risk of death or other serious complications.

A patient in a northwestern Minnesota nursing home died as the result of a morphine overdose. The patient’s death led to a charge of neglect against the facility.

The man, whose name has not been released, was given 10 times the correct dose of morphine. He resided at the Mahnomen Health Center, which is an acute-care hospital with a nursing home housing 42 beds. A state investigation report found the facility responsible for failing to transcribe the man’s medications correctly.

The patient had been transferred to the facility a day before. He suffered from chronic kidney disease and was in hospice care at the home. When the man arrived, his physician added a dose of morphine to be delivered by placing a syringe inside his cheek every hour. The dose was transcribed incorrectly, causing the dose given to be ten times what was prescribed.

One of the facility’s nurses told investigators that he questioned the dose, but was told by another nurse that it was correct. The error was discovered about fifteen minutes after being administered. Nursing home staff contacted the patient’s family and were asked to deliver a dose of Narcan, a drug that could block the effects of the morphine.

The patient’s breathing decreased to just two breaths per minute and the family requested another dose of Narcan be administered. However, the patient died before staff could return from the hospital with the dose.

The state report indicates that the patient’s physician stated that such a large dose of morphine contributed to the man’s death.

If you believe that yourself or someone you love has suffered from abuse or neglect at the hands of a nursing home or care facility, contact the law offices of Schenk Smith. Our attorneys will work to ensure you get the compensation due to you. Contact us today.