Wrongful death suit alleges drug dealing at Atascadero nursing home

March 26, 2015

pharmacy-medicines-tabletsAn Atascadero nursing home failed to take measures to stop an employee from distributing expired narcotics, according to a wrongful death lawsuit filed in San Luis Obispo Superior Court. [Tribune]

Michelle Hughes, 48, died of a drug overdose in April 2014. Hughes, who worked as a dietary supervisor at Atascadero Christian Community nursing home, allegedly received a lethal dose of morphine from a co-worker, who was also her cousin.

Last week, a Los Angeles attorney filed suit on behalf of Hughes’ three children against Pacific Christian Senior Services, the parent firm of the nursing home. The employee who allegedly distributed the deadly amount of morphine is not named as a defendant in the suit.

That employee was tasked with maintaining, distributing and disposing of expired narcotics. Instead, the worker distributed expired narcotics without prescriptions or medical supervision, the lawsuit claims.

The suit alleges that the nursing home is responsible for Hughes’ death because it failed to supervise the employee during the destruction of narcotics, and it did not maintain logs required by federal law.

Hughes suffered from a painful neurological disease, according to the lawsuit. She also had a history of depression, anxiety, hypothyroidism, asthma, back problems and opiate abuse, according to a police report.

About a month prior to her death, Hughes wrote on Facebook that she hates her “F—— LIFE” and that she was throwing in the white towel.

On April 19, 2014, Hughes was found dead in a Glendora residence. Her hometown was Paso Robles, and it is unclear why she was found in Glendora.

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Sounds like the nursing home has some explaining to do….

Could it be the cousin deliberately killed her? Family feud over an inheritance or ?? Hello!

Of course it is the employer’s fault. It always is, they are responsible for EVERYTHING (unlike the government or individuals). They hired this person to keep records, dispose of narcotics, etc.

Homes have been an issue in the Pharmacy “community” for years; the person handling the disposal does NOT have to be a Pharmacist, nor even a Pharm Tech – but they MUST maintain records, and whatever Pharmacy was supplying the prescribed narcotics is supposed to check the records at least once a month.

It’s a terrible “loophole” especially considering how much of a pain in the ass it is to do the same thing in Hospitals and Pharmacies, where they must be licensed, certified, etc. and have regular inspections (usually w/o warning). There are many government make-work agencies that wholly survive on inspections and fining (like all government leeches, they usually find trivial shit, but that is enough to pay their bills). It is a necessary evil that has been abused, like all things large and bloated.

Still, at the end of the day, the person who DID NOT do what they were employed to do is NOT guilty or responsible. That is the decay in which we live.

As a side note, I grew up in Glendora, and knew a couple of “Hughes” – wonder if it was a family or relative of one of the two Hughes families I knew.

She has a cousin who is conveniently in charge of drugs. She has a history of opiate abuse. I give up. I’m throwing in the white towel on all this type of suits.

Here is something I don’t know if others are aware of, as I wasn’t till about ten years ago. I was talking to my DR. about expired drugs and safety. I was led to believe unsafe or bad for you for YEARS!! The answer…….no. They lose potency so maybe not as effective BUT. Look up on net, many articles say the same.

So back to are bullshit lawsuit. They are trying to imply that expired drugs would hurt you and or that is the contributing factor to her death. WRONG!! So the ONLY conclusion is another B.S. lawsuit.

The article is a bit poorly written in that it initially implies what you said. However, upon reading the whole thing, I got the impression that the suit was not about the potency of the expired meds but about the failure to insure their proper destruction. I don’t know if they made reasonable efforts to do so and Hughes’ cousin was able to deceive them or if they truly failed to exercise due care in the process. My problem with the suit is that it sounds like Hughes may have been trying to commit suicide anyway and might have done so without her cousin’s help. If she had done so by other means, would there still be a basis for suing someone? This seems to me like another sad case of someone who got beyond hope and sought a poor solution to her problems. I feel for her kids — especially if they are still juveniles — but I would also be somewhat skeptical about placing much (or even any) blame on the nursing home.

You are correct! Many (most?) large hospitals in urban areas (i.e. UCSF, LA, etc) used to have programs to GIVE AWAY expired or even unused medications to those who could not pay / afford them. The GOVERNMENT made them stop (I’m sure at the bidding of “big pharma” and the FDA – which is big pharma). So now, there are a lot of rules and regulations on the proper handling and destruction of unused and expired medications.

These same rules and regulations are not as strict with private, home-care places; and, the large hospitals are no longer allowed to help the needy. After all, it is the job of the government to “take care of” the needy, and they hate competition.