Medication error cited in lawsuit after wealthy woman’s death

Mental illness affects millions of people throughout the entire U.S. Some Joliet residents might suffer from depression that is easily managed with medication. Other folks might need more intense treatment in order to help them cope with their mental health issues.

Whether a patient’s illness is mild or severe, all patients deserve to be seen by a doctor who will continually work to find effective treatments when other methods don’t seem to be working. Patients also deserve to work with a doctor who will properly diagnose their condition. Taking a variety of medications to treat undiagnosed conditions could result in serious or fatal medication errors, especially when a doctor fails to warn patients about potential side effects or fails to monitor a patient’s response to new medications.

Last year, a man’s wife died unexpectedly at the age of 59. Prior to her death, the woman had been receiving treatment for mental health issues. Her mental illness had never been diagnosed even though she had been taking several medications that are commonly used to treat diagnosed conditions. The man believes that his wife died as a result of medical negligence.

A wrongful death lawsuit states that the woman’s psychiatrist had prescribed a dangerous combination of medications for several years. The man’s wife took these medications, which eventually altered her normal heart rhythm. Sudden cardiac death was the woman’s cause of death on April 5, 2011. The woman’s husband believes that the combination of drugs she had been prescribed to take at the time had caused her heart to stop functioning. At the time of her death, she had been taking nine different medications.

This lawsuit is particularly unique because the husband claims that the woman’s psychiatrist intentionally kept his patient on strong medications. The patient and her husband were wealthy. And when the psychiatrist told his patient that he needed money to fund a project that could lead to a cure for her illness, the patient donated more than $400,000 to the project.

In addition to coaxing money out of his patient, the doctor ignored several signs that his patient was suffering health complications caused by her medications. The woman had been hospitalized on several occasions for heart problems. During her hospital visits, medical professionals told the woman to stop taking anti-psychotics. Despite these warnings, the woman’s psychiatrist had told her to continue taking her medications.

Source: The Associated Press, “Philanthropist’s death sparks unusual lawsuit,” Linda Deutsch, August 4, 2012

Medication Errors


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