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Jury awards $140 million in wrongful death case

The family of a woman with diabetes was recently awarded $140 million by the jury in her wrongful death lawsuit. A prescription error led to the death of the woman after she was given 10 times the amount of insulin needed. The woman was discharged from a hospital in 2008 and was to receive follow-up care at a rehabilitation facility. The prescription was incorrectly transcribed in India, calling for 10 times the amount of insulin actually prescribed. The overdose caused irreparable brain injury and cardiopulmonary arrest. Her family subsequently filed a wrongful death claim on her behalf.

Oregonians may be surprised to know the circumstances surrounding this woman’s case are not unique. It’s reported that approximately 1.3 million injuries and one death are associated with medication errors every day in America.

The Food and Drug Administration is reportedly aware of the problem, and is seeking to strengthen the system to avoid thes e types of medication errors. The blame for medication errors comes from many areas, including prescribing, administering and monitoring medication. Poor communication and unclear directions add to the list of sources for these errors made by medical staff members.

If any of our readers have a loved one who died as the result of a medical mistake or accidental overdose, it is important to know the availability of legal remedies. Every state, including Oregon, has a wrongful death statute that establishes the procedures for bringing a wrongful death claim. In order to bring a claim, an estate needs to be opened for the lost loved one. Any damage award will pass to the estate and be distributed in accordance with the decedent’s will.

Source:, “Jury awards $140M after prescription error leads to woman’s death,” Alanna Ritchie, Dec. 19, 2012