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Chicago Family Sues After Fentanyl Medical Malpractice Incident

Posted on Nov 24, 2010
An Illinois family has received a $3.75 million medical malpractice settlement from a Chicago rehabilitation center after they filed a wrongful death lawsuit regarding their wife and mother, Kerry Rupright.

In 2004, 28-year-old Rupright was given a Fentanyl pain killer patch while in the hospital for a chronic spinal cord inflammation condition. After the condition was under control, Rupright was transferred to the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, where she died four days later. Her husband and two sons say that she died from an overdose of pain medication and other drugs, which the medical center did not stop despite signs of an overdose days earlier. Even though the young mother became increasingly drowsy and non-responsive, the doctors only reduced the Fentanyl dose and did not stop other medications.

The rehabilitation center did not take responsibility for Ruright’s death and say that their staff members handled the case properly. They also enlisted the help of several medical experts to agree with their assessments. However, they settled the IL medical malpractice lawsuit out of court with the family earlier this year.

This is far from the first time that Fentanyl patches have been at the center of wrongful death lawsuits and medical malpractice lawsuits. Many medical professionals agree that the powerful painkiller – which is between four and eight times more powerful than morphine – is too easy to administer and too often leads to overdoses and deaths. In 2005 and 2007, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) released warnings about the pain killing patch, which they say has been responsible for hundreds of deaths since its release.

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