Man claims nurse gave him pain med overdose

Kelly Holleran Dec. 23, 2008, 6:27am

An Illinois man has filed suit against St. Elizabeth's Hospital and one of its nurses, alleging the nurse injected too much medicine in him, causing an overdose.

When Charles A. Farris visited the hospital on Dec. 18, 2006, to receive a refill of bolus into a pump, Michelle D. Knight, a nurse there, "'tricked' the system to give Plaintiff a 'loading dose' to relieve Plaintiff's pain," the suit filed Dec. 17 in St. Clair County Circuit Court states.

About a half-hour after the dosage, Farris began experiencing numbness in his legs, and after eight hours, he had to call an ambulance to transport him to St. Elizabeth's Hospital, the suit states.

At first, doctors at the hospital treated Farris for severe neurologic and pulmonary symptoms before treating him for the overdose, he claims.

Farris remained in the hospital from Dec. 18, 2006, until Dec. 24, 2006, he claims.

Farris's bolus treatments began in 2003 when he received a SynchroMed subarachnoid drug delivery system because of his lower back pain, according to the complaint.

A work-related accident in 1995 caused Farris's back pain, the suit states.

The drug delivery system required routine injection of morphine and marcaine bolus, the reason Farris visited the hospital on Dec. 18, 2006.

Because of White's overdose, Farris received three months worth of morphine and marcaine bolus within 18 hours and he became comatose and required mechanical ventilation, he claims.

He also suffered from rhabdomyolysis, a marcaine overdose, a morphine overdose, pulmonary problems, emotional distress, pain, suffering and a loss of enjoyment of life and he incurred medical expenses, according to the complaint.

White was negligent by overdosing Farris's system, by failing to recognize Farris's overdose until the morning after he was admitted and by failing to treat Farris's overdose in a timely fashion, the suit states.

Farris claims St. Elizabeth's Hospital was negligent by failing to diagnose Farris with an overdose, by treating him for narcotic withdrawal and by failing to obtain appropriate consults to properly diagnose and treat him.

In the two-count suit, Farris is seeking a judgment in excess of $100,000, plus other damages the court deems just.

John T. Papa of Callis, Papa, Hale, Szewczyk and Danzinger in Granite City will be representing him.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 08-L-641.

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