Hospital, doctors under fire for medication death

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When loved ones are in the hospital, friends and family members expect doctors to be responsible and safe when administering medication.

However, patients and caretakers in Tennessee should know their lives could be at risk when doctors do not prescribe the correct types or levels of drugs to help treat injuries or conditions. Though they cannot undo the devastating damage, medical malpracticelawsuits can be a helpful tool when seeking justice if facilities or doctors become careless when making important decisions for an individual’s health.

Recently, a similar lawsuit was filed against the Hampton VA Medical Center by the sister of a 37-year-old United States Navy veteran who passed away after overdosing on a drug called Seroquel, an antipsychotic medication. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the drug has been known to cause a risk of suicidal actions or thoughts, among other serious side effects.

The lawsuit states the hospital gave the veteran a prescription for the drug in large doses for 120 days. It is the same drug the veteran used to try and kill herself three times within the last year. The sister is accusing medical personnel of being responsible for the veteran’s death by enabling the suicide.

She added the VA has caused her sister’s problems with drugs for 13 years as the facility’s doctors treated the woman with more than 25 drugs to help suppress depression, insomnia, anxiety and more. Medical records also show the woman sought help from physicians outside of the VA center.

In response to the lawsuit, attorneys representing the government claim Seroquel was not only effective in suppressing the psychosis, but was not lethal in the doses the physicians prescribed.

The sister of the veteran is seeking $5 million in damages in the case.

Source: The Virginian-Pilot, “After Navy vet’s suicide, sister sues VA hospital,” Bill Sizemore, Nov. 13, 2012