Excessive pain medication cited for at least 28 patient deaths

In tragic examples of major medical malpractice, the president and CEO of a Columbus, Ohio, hospital admitted that one of its physicians was responsible for lethal dosages of drugs that were administered to 28 patients. Several wrongful death lawsuits have been filed.

At least 34 near-death patients were prescribed excessive dosages of pain medication at Mount Carmel hospital while being treated by this doctor. Twenty-eight patient were administered large and potentially deadly doses of medication. Six patients received excessive dosages that exceeded the amount needed for providing comfort but were not believed to have been fatal.

At first, the hospital said these patients were near-death. Now, however, it is investigating whether some patients received possibly-lethal dosages even though treatment could have possibly improved their medical condition. Identified patients suffered various ailments and ranged in age from 39 to 85-years-old.

The hospital CEO said it may discover more fatalities as it continues its investigation. Questions are being raised about pharmacists and nurses approving and administering the drugs. There are also concerns that these drugs were intentionally or possibly illegally administered to speed up the patient's deaths without their families' knowledge.

According to the hospital, concerns were raised about the doctor last fall, but he was permitted to treat patients for several weeks until he was fired. Three patients died during that time after receiving excessive medication dosages from the doctor.

The hospital issued a public apology and placed six pharmacist and 14 nurses on paid leave pending its investigation. It is reviewing the records of all the patients who died while under the doctor's care during the five years he practiced at the hospital. The Ohio Medical Board suspended the physician's license, but criminal charges have not been announced.

Eight wrongful death lawsuits were filed charging that the hospital patients were negligently or intentionally administered overdoses and that hospital precautions were ignored or failed. One lawsuit was filed in late Jan. concerning an 85-year-old women who allegedly died shortly after being administered two excessive dosages of potentially dangerous medications. Another lawsuit was filed on April 1 over the death of a 57-year-old patient.

An attorney can help families who suffer the loss of a loved one seek financial compensation. They can help assure that evidence is obtained and a lawsuit is timely filed.

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