Unprescribed Morphine Caused Death of Ohio Nursing Home Resident

A nursing home in Boardman, Ohio is facing criminal charges and a civil lawsuit for the death of a 70 year old resident who was given unprescribed morphine. Employees of the nursing home are also being accused of falsifying records in the days following the man’s death.

Greenbriar Health Care Center admitted William Wolfe in late March 2015. Three months later, he was given extended release morphine at 10:05 pm and was found unresponsive in his bed the next morning. He was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Records Tampering
The lawsuit alleges that the family was not notified that the morphine dose was an error and that records were altered 2 days after Mr. Wolfe’s death. The lawsuit also notes that had the facility not caused his death, Mr. Wolfe’s life expectancy would have been another 13 years.

3 Nursing home employees are named in both the civil and criminal cases, 2 of whom are charged with patient abuse and records tampering and the third charged with patient abuse.

Medication Error Rate a Problem in Nursing Homes
It is unclear as to whether morphine was given as the result of a miscommunication or to sedate Mr. Morris to enable a more peaceful nightshift, but regardless of the reason, medication errors are a dangerous problem for nursing home residents. A 2014 article in the Legal Examiner reveals that 21.2% of all medications are given erroneously in nursing homes. Nearly 1/4 of all dosages are of the wrong amount, given to the wrong person, are given at the wrong times or at an inappropriate frequency. Families rely on nursing homes to provide care that their loved ones require, including giving them necessary medications at the correct times and with the proper frequency as advised by their physician. Any type of medication error that results in injury falls under the category of nursing home abuse and like the case detailed above, can be punishable criminally, civilly, or both.

If you believe a loved one has suffered as the result of a medication that was missed, given too often or too infrequently, of the wrong dosage, or not prescribed by their physician, the Chicago elder abuse attorneys of Levin & Perconti are here to help you determine if you have cause to pursue legal action. Consultations are always free and are completed by one of our licensed Illinois nursing home abuse attorneys. Please call us at 1-877-374-1417 or complete our online consultation form.


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