Opioid Toxicity and Medical Negligence: A $20 Million Verdict
In a recent case of medical malpractice, a Florida jury awarded $20 million to the family of a man who died due to fatal opioid toxicity. This case underscores the critical importance of thorough patient history taking and careful monitoring when prescribing opioids, particularly for patients with conditions like sleep apnea that can increase the risk of complications.
- Joshua Hamby, 57, sought treatment at Boca Raton Regional Hospital on May 27, 2020, for epigastric pain and was diagnosed with acute biliary pancreatitis.
- Attending physician Joshua Glauser, MD, admitted Hamby and ordered IV hydromorphone for pain control.
- Hamby received multiple hydromorphone doses, initially 1 mg, later increased to 4 mg.
- Hamby was found unresponsive on May 28, 2020, resuscitated, and placed on life support.
- Hamby passed away on June 4, 2020, due to a severe anoxic brain injury caused by lack of oxygen.
- Hamby had a history of sleep apnea, which increases the risk of complications from opioids.
- The court documents allege negligence on the part of Dr. Glauser for not asking about Hamby’s sleep apnea history, not placing Hamby in a monitored bed, and not appropriately responding to his change in status.
We spent a great deal of time, both in our direct examinations and in our cross-examination of the defense experts, establishing that the standard of care for patients did not change during COVID.
– Deborah Gadner, lawyer for the defense
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