On September 17, 2007, Barbara Lefforge entered St. Edna Nursing home for rehabilitation purposes. Barbara had just had surgery to repair tendon damage in her foot. Barbara’s surgeon mistakenly prescribed 50mg of Morphine when he had intended to prescribe her 50mg of Demerol.
The improper prescription was noticed by the pharmacist from which the medication was to be received, but nevertheless St. Edna administered all of the morphine they had in stock (a total of 30 mg). Upon the drug administration, Barbara suffered an overdose. St. Edna failed to monitor her and failed to bring her to the hospital until the next morning. Consequently, Barbara suffered a significant brain injury. This injury led Barbara to file a medical malpractice action against both her original surgeon and St. Edna.
The jury found St. Edna 90% at fault and her original surgeon 10% at fault. Sadly, Barbara was only at St. Edna a little over five hours when the negligence that caused her injury occurred. This was an injury that could have easily been avoided, and one that happens all too often in both hospital and nursing home settings.
Doctors are not perfect, and as such a system of checks helps to mitigate the damages that some of their mistakes can cause. The pharmacist in this situation correctly told St. Edna that the prescription was a mistake, still, St. Edna failed to listen and now both Barbara and St. Edna need to live with the consequences of St. Edna’s negligence.