Kaiser Patient Dies From Negligent Prescription of Pain Medicine, Part 1 of 3

The following blog is provided as an example of a Kaiser medical malpractice lawsuit to aid potential clients in how a lawsuit is examined and conduced. It is worth noting that situations similar to those described in this medical malpractice case could just as easily occur at any of the healthcare facilities in the area, such as UC Davis Medical Center, Mercy, Methodist, or Sutter.

(Please also note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this personal injury lawsuit and its proceedings.)


According to Plaintiff: Plaintiffs Lyle Gaff, Arthur Gaff, Darlene Gaff, and Avery Gaff alleged that decedent Irene Bent, a 34-year-old wife and mother of three teenage children, ages 18, 17, and 15, died as a result of Oxycodone and opioid toxicity. Decedent was a long-time Kaiser member. In 2003, she injured her back at work and had continued complaints of chronic low back pain thereafter. She was treated only at Kaiser. In 2008, defendant Martha Devlin, M.D. became her primary physician. Defendant Devlin prescribed numerous opioid medications for decedent’s back pain over the course of the next one and a half years. There were only minor subjective findings of back pathology (MRI showed small disc protrusion and tenderness on exam).

On several occasions, Dr. Devlin appropriately referred decedent to the Kaiser Pain Management Clinic. However, initially, since decedent was a full-time college student and mother, she could not attend. Later, because the clinic was far from her home, she could not attend. Instead of attempting to taper decedent from the high doses of opioids, Dr. Devlin continued to increase the dosage. At times, decedent e-mailed Dr. Devlin, asking if there was anything other than all the pills that could help her. As of November 10, 2009, decedent was taking Oxycodone/Oxycontin in 30 mg slow release, 2 tablets, twice daily (120 mg daily) for controlled continuous pain relief and Hydrocodone-Acetaminophen, 10 mg, 1 tablet every 4 hours (60 mg daily) for breakthrough pain. Both are opioids with a known risk for respiratory suppression and heart rate slowing.

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

On November 10, 2009, Dr. Devlin dramatically increased the opiate prescriptions to 80 mg, slow release, Oxycodone/Oxycontin, 1 tablet twice daily (180 mg daily) and changed the Hydrocodone (60 mg daily) to morphine 15 mg, 2 tablets every 4 hours (180 mg daily). The 80 mg slow release Oxycodone/Oxycontin was a 33 1/3 percent increase and the morphine was a 300 percent increase.

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

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