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Lawsuit filed after assisted living patient was over-medicated

| Aug 24, 2018 | Wrongful Death |

Most in Ocean County may associate wrongful death lawsuits with cases were a person’s negligence may have contributed to the death of another, but not to the point of warranting criminal charges. This essentially implies that this particular legal recourse option is simply another way of punishing someone for their culpability in a death, with the indirect implication being that such action is not needed when said someone is facing criminal charges. Yet often, a wrongful death lawsuit’s purpose is to help the families of victims in affording the expenses that accompany their losses. For this reason, one might see a civil action filed in conjunction with an ongoing criminal case. 

This is exactly what is happening with an elder abuse case in Alabama. Two employees of an assisted living facility are currently facing assault charges for intentionally over-medicating a patient. The patient at the center of this case was on hospice care, and the facility had been provided with a comfort care kit containing morphine by her hospice nurse (despite the fact that the facility’s personnel were not authorized to administer medications). The employees admitted to authorities that they gave the patient an overdose of morphine, which ultimately proved to be fatal. Prosecutors in the case have said that the pair could face even more serious charges depending on the results of the patient’s autopsy. 

In this case, the estate of the patient has filed a wrongful death lawsuit. One might think that such action would interfere with criminal court proceedings, but the law does indeed allow for both cases to occur simultaneously (with the civil complaint often being heard after the completion of the criminal case). Those needing assistance in initiating a wrongful death lawsuit may find it in the form of an experienced attorney. 

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