An Illinois resident suffered respiratory failure after being prescribed a narcotic pain reliever following a minor motorcycle accident. The pain reliever also happened to be a respiratory suppressor, which, when coupled with his pre-existing history of sleep apnea, led to his untimely death as a result of the Illinois physician’s medical negligence.
Sleep apnea is a chronic disease that involves pauses in breathing while sleeping. The pauses can range anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes and can occur anywhere from five to fifty times in an hour. The decedent’s sleep apnea put him at increased risk for respiratory complications.
During the decedent’s hospital stay at Edward Hospital in Naperville, the defendant doctor allegedly prescribed the patient a dose of the narcotic pain reliever that exceeded the therapeutic levels in light of his pre-existing sleep apnea. This Illinois medication error directly affected his ability to breathe and led to his wrongful death on the fifth day of his hospitalization as a result of the medical malpractice.
The Illinois wrongful death lawsuit also alleged that poor monitoring and care by the nursing staff also contributed to the decedent’s demise. It alleged that had the nurses and physicians been more attentive to the decedent’s vital signs, specifically his respiratory rate and oxygen levels, that his untimely death could have been prevented.
The DuPage County Court awarded the decedent’s estate $1.2 million for the wrongful death of the Illinois resident.