$20 Million Jury Verdict for Wrongful Death Caused by Opiate Overdose

Doris Green was 79 years old when she was discharged to HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Gadsden for a two-week stay following her hospitalization for gastroenteritis. About a week after her admission, a nurse discovered that she was in an unresponsive mental state; the physician ordered that she be transferred to a nearby hospital.

At the hospital, she underwent a CT scan of her brain and it was negative. She was then rehydrated and returned to HealthSouth.

Three days later, Green became unresponsive again with an oxygen saturation level of just 70%.  She was returned to the hospital in a coma. Doctors believe she had been given opiates. The doctors ordered two urinalyses, which were positive for opiates.  The hospital staff administered Narcan and Green responded favorably over the next few days. Although her condition stabilized, she did suffer brain damage resulting from lack of oxygen or hypoxia to the brain. She died several months later.  She was survived by her adult daughter.

Her daughter filed a lawsuit against HealthSouth for wrongful death. In the lawsuit, it was alleged that the defendant rehabilitation hospital chose not to monitor Green adequately and was negligent in administrating excessive opiates to her that should not have been prescribed. She was given this medication despite clear warning signs that she was allergic to these opiates. Punitive damages were also sought.

The jury signed a verdict for $20 million. According to the report of the case, the verdict is now in the posttrial motion stage.

The attorneys representing the Doris Green family were David H. Marsh and William “Rip” Andrews.

Honts v. HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Gadsden, LLC., No. 31-CV-2013-900745.00 (Ala. Cir. Ct. Etowah County).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling wrongful death cases, nursing home negligence cases, traumatic brain injury cases, medical malpractice lawsuits and birth trauma injury cases for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of a medical provider for more than 40 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Calumet City, Flossmoor, Inverness, Arlington Heights, Orland Park, New Lenox, Frankfurt, Chicago Heights, South Holland, Blue Island, Zion, Waukegan, Lake Forest, Gurnee, Joliet, Oak Lawn, Chicago (Lake Calumet, East Side, South Shore, Kenwood, Bridgeport, Albany Park), Mount Prospect and Wilmette, Ill.

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