A Minnesota nursing home was cited with neglect in the death of a resident in his mid-50s who had been admitted to the Minnesota nursing home for short-term rehabilitation with diagnoses of cancer, chronic pain, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. His physician ordered liquid oxycodone with instructions to administer 20 milligrams of oxycodone for pain that the resident rated at 5 to 7, or 30 milligrams for pain rated from 8 to 10. The resident died after a nurse administered twenty times the prescribed dosage of oxycodone.
The nurse practitioner who was responsible for prescribing the proper dosage of oxycodone for the resident had changed the concentration and dose several times. The Minnesota nursing home did not have a policy and procedure for medication changes by a provider or pharmacy with potential risk of resident harm.
On the night that the resident died, the resident requested oxycodone for pain that he rated at 10 out of 10. The nurse administered 600 milligrams, which was twenty times the prescribed dose. At the end of her shift, the nurse requested that her supervisor reorder oxycodone from the pharmacy for the resident because the pharmacy had sent a single dose on the night shift. When the nurse supervisor called the pharmacy, the pharmacy confirmed that it had delivered a three-day supply of oxycodone and not a one-day supply.
The nurse supervisor and the nurse who had administered the overdose of oxycodone went to the resident’s room and found him unresponsive on the floor. The resident could not be resuscitated. The resident’s death certificate indicated that the immediate cause of death was oxycodone toxicity.
The Minnesota Department of Health Office of Health Facility Complaints Investigative Report stated that the nurse admitted during an interview after the incident that she had been busy with multiple residents and did not verify the concentration and dose of the oxycodone she administered to the resident.
The Minnesota Office of Health Facility Complaints substantiated nursing home neglect under the Minnesota Vulnerable Adults Act, Minnesota Statutes, section 626.557, and found both the nurse and the Minnesota nursing home responsible for the neglect.
The Minnesota Department of Health Office of Health Facility Complaints Investigative Report can be read here.
In a letter dated January 31, 2018, the Minnesota nursing home stated, in part: ” … this was a terribly sad and very difficult situation for all of us here … The people who work here not only care for our patients, but also care about them … the Minnesota Department of Health has confirmed that the administrative deficiency they identified has been corrected … I am extremely proud of the compassionate care we provide for the community we are privileged to serve.”
If you or a loved one suffered injuries (or worse) while a resident of a nursing home in Minnesota or in another U.S. state due to nursing home neglect, nursing home negligence, nursing home abuse, or nursing home understaffing, you should promptly contact a nursing home claim attorney in Minnesota or in your state who may investigate your nursing home claim for you and file a nursing home claim on your behalf, if appropriate.
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