Friday, September 05, 2008

Woodstock “Angel of Death“ Nursing Home Suit Filed

Walk with me through a civil suit filed by Viki Lund, daughter of Virginia Cole, who is alleged to have died at the Woodstock Residence as a result of an overdose of morphine.

Lund's attorney is Steven Levin. His Chicago law firm is Levin & Perconti.

What follows is what I have picked out of the suit:

“...the Administration including, but not limited to, ALISSA NATAUPSKY and PENNY WHITLOCK, RN...was aware that that Morphine Sulfate was being administered to residents without an order and/or outside prescribed parameters.

“Defendant...stored bottles of Morphine Sulfate for expired residents instead of discarding the medication,

“Defendant...aware of the improper disposal of Morphine Sulfate.

“...the facility permitted the improper and unlawful administration of medications including, but not limited to, Morphine Sulfate, to VIRGINIA.

“...Defendant MARTY M. HIMEBAUGH, LPN was indicted...for four counts of Criminal Neglect of a Long Term Care Resident, one count of Acquiring or Obtaining Possession of a Controlled Substance by Misrepresentation, Fraud, Deception, or Subterfuge, and one count of Unlawful Delivery of a Controlled Substance; includ(ing) a specific charge that MARTY M. HIMEBAUGH, LPN recklessly administered a dosage of morphine to VIRGINIA when she was unresponsive and exhibiting delayed breathing patterns.

“...Defendant PENNY WHITLOCK, RN was indicted...for four counts of Criminal Neglect of a Long Term Care Resident and two counts of Obstructing Justice; includ(ing) a specific charge that PENNY WHITLOCK, RN endangered the life of VIRGINIA by failing to report alleged neglect or abuse.

“...during the period of VIRGINIA’S residency at WOODSTOCK RESIDENCE, Defendant by and through its employees...MARTY M. HIMEBAUGH, LPN and PENNY WHITLOCK, RN, failed to provide ordinary care and violated the provisions of the Act in that the Defendant."
Among other violations of rules or law listed is
“...fail(ure) to assure VIRGINIA was not given lethal medications without a medical reason and for the purpose of staff convenience;

“...fail(ure) to properly enforce the disposition of a controlled medication, properly monitor controlled substances through an acceptable medical system, account for all controlled medication, and provide consistent and accurate narcotic counts to identify missing medications;

“...fail(ure) to notify local law enforcement of possible criminal activity involving the potential misuse of Morphine Sulfate by a staff nurse;

“...Fail(ure) to protect residents from possible injury/abuse once it was alleged that a staff nurse was misusing medications;

“...Fail(ure) to notify local law enforcement and state officials of possible criminal activity involving the potential misuse of narcotic medications by a staff nurse;

“As a direct and proximate result of one or more of the Defendant’s statutory violations and negligent acts or omissions, VIRGINIA suffered injuries of a personal and pecuniary nature, past, present, and future, including, but not limited to, pain and suffering, disability and disfigurement, medical, funeral, and other related expenses; and VIRGINIA would have been entitled to receive compensation from the Defendant for these injuries, had she survived."
Negligence is alleged for
“Fail(ure) to initiate and conduct a complete and thorough investigation after allegations were made that a staff nurse was overmedicating residents,” among other things."
The allegations against Licensed Practical Nurse Marty Himebaugh include
“As a direct and proximate result of one or more of the Defendant’s negligent acts or omissions, VIRGINIA was administered improper and unlawful doses of medications including, but not limited to, Morphine Sulfate, which resulted in physical and mental injury, a deterioration of her physical and/or mental condition, and caused or contributed to cause her death.”
The allegations against Registered Nurse and Director of Nursing Penny Whitlock include
“Carelessly encouraged a staff nurse to continue actions which constituted abuse or neglect;

“Fail(ure) to initiate and conduct a complete and thorough investigation after allegations were made that a staff nurse was overmedicating residents;

“Fail(ure) to protect residents from possible injury/abuse once it was alleged that a staff nurse was misusing medications;

“Fail(ure) to notify local law enforcement and state officials of possible criminal activity involving the potential misuse of narcotic medications by a staff nurse.”
Allegations against the nursing home and the LPN and RN:

“Prior to September 6, 2006, VIRGINIA did not have a physician order for a medication commonly known as Morphine Sulfate.

“Prior to September 6, 2006 the Defendant, MARTY M. HIMEBAUGH, LPN, administered Morphine Sulfate to VIRGINIA without an order from a licensed physician or a prescription as required...

“On and subsequent to September 9, 2006, VIRGINIA was readmitted to WOODSTOCK under hospice and had a physician order for 20 mg/ml of Roxanol to be administered every two (2) hours as needed.

“On and subsequent to September 9, 2006, Defendant, MARTY M. HIMEBAUGH, LPN, administered more Morphine Sulfate to VIRGINIA than was ordered by her physician.

“On and subsequent to September 9, 2006, Defendant, MARTY M. HIMEBAUGH, LPN, continued to administer Morphine Sulfate to VIRGINIA when she was unresponsive and exhibited a delayed breathing pattern.

“At all times relevant to this Complaint, the Defendant, PENNY WHITLOCK, RN, encouraged MARTY M. HIMEBAUGH, LPN to administer improper and unlawful amounts of Morphine Sulfate to VIRGINIA.

“...As a direct and proximate result of one of more of the intentional acts and/or negligent acts or omissions, VIRGINIA was administered improper and unlawful doses of medications including, but not limited to, Morphine Sulfate, which caused or contributed to cause her death."
You can read the entire suit here.

Published first on McHenry County Blog, the very awake political news source this weekend.

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