On April 15, 2016, the widow of a Tennessee police detective filed her Tennessee medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit against the hospital where her husband had a lethal level of narcotic pain medication (oxycodone) in his system at the time of his death. The widow was originally told that her husband died from an embolism, which an autopsy determined to be erroneous. The medical examiner determined that the man had died from oxycodone intoxication.
The 54-year-old well-respected and well-liked detective who had spent 12 years with the Jacksboro Police Department as a detective was in the defendant hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU) as a result of the severe injuries he suffered while responding to a fatal motor vehicle accident on January 23, 2015. The detective was driving his unmarked police cruiser with its siren activated when the driver of another vehicle was unable to stop before crashing head-on into the detective’s vehicle. The detective’s severe injuries included broken bones in his upper and lower body that required several surgeries. As a result of his extensive injuries and serious pain, he was given narcotic pain medication while slowly recovering in the hospital’s ICU.
On January 30, 2015, the detective suddenly and unexpectedly died while in the ICU. His widow was told that the likely cause of his death was an embolic event. It was not until the autopsy was completed that the widow was told the truth about the cause of her husband’s death, about three months later.
The medical examiner who performed the autopsy was surprised by the high level of oxycodone in the detective’s blood and therefore ordered further tests to confirm the lethal level of the narcotic pain medication. After receiving confirmation of the original results, the medical examiner contacted the police to investigate whether foul play was involved in the detective’s death. The police investigation found that only hospital staff and the detective’s family members had access to the detective in the hospital, and that the hospital staff had exclusive access to and control of the narcotic pain medication that caused the detective’s death.
The widow provided the necessary notice to the defendants in July 2015 that she intended to file her Tennessee medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit. The widow seeks $7.5 million in damages from the named defendants, UT Medical Center and University Health System Inc. The detective’s badge was retired following his death.
No one should die as a result of an overdose of medication in the hospital.
If you or a family member were injured (or worse) as a result of hospital negligence in Tennessee or elsewhere in the United States, you should promptly seek the legal advice of a Tennessee medical malpractice lawyer or a medical malpractice lawyer in your state who may investigate your hospital negligence claim for you and represent you in a hospital liability case, if appropriate.
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