Wrongful death suit claims patient should not have been prescribed fentanyl

Kelly Holleran Aug. 14, 2012, 1:54am


The administrator of a deceased woman's estate has filed suit against the hospital where the woman died, saying its employees negligently prescribed medication that the woman had never before taken, causing her death.

Leonard Stofferahn claims defendant Dr. Joseph Yazdi, who was working at defendant St. Elizabeth's Hospital of The Hospital Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis and defendant HSHS Medical Group doing business as Southern Illinois Brain and Spine Center, prescribed Sarah Stofferahn fentanyl, a powerful opiate. At the time of the prescription, Sarah Stofferahn had never before taken an opiate, according to the complaint filed July 20 in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

Fentanyl is often prescribed for patients with chronic pain, such as cancer, but has been linked to a number of fatalities over the years because of its strength. Leonard Stofferahn's lawsuit does not specify how Sarah Stofferahn died, but does attribute her death to the medication, the suit states.

Because of Sarah Stofferahn's death, Leonard Stofferahn claims he suffered grief, sorrow and permanent injuries and has been deprived of Sarah Stofferahn's services, companionship, comfort, instruction, guidance, counsel, training, love and support, the complaint says.

In his three-count complaint, Leonard Stofferah is seeking a judgment of $150,000, plus costs.

Joseph A. Bartholomew of Cook, Ysursa, Bartholomew, Brauer and Shevlin in Bellevile will be representing him.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 12-L-372.

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