Medical malpractice suit filed after fatal overdose of painkiller

The family of a man who may have died from an overdose of pain medication is now taking legal action. The man, a detective with the Jacksboro Police Department, was being treated for the injuries he had suffered in a car accident. The University of Tennessee Medical Center has been accused in the family's medical malpractice suit.

The man, a 12-year police veteran of the Jacksboro Police Department, suffered critical injuries in a car accident when, while sitting in an unmarked vehicle, his vehicle was struck head-on. He underwent numerous surgeries to repair the broken bones in both his upper and lower body. He was given pain medication while he lay recovering in the intensive care unit of the hospital, the lawsuit states.

The 54-year-old man was in the process of recuperating from the injuries suffered as a result of a work-related crash but died suddenly on Jan. 30, 2015. The man's widow was informed that his cause of death was most likely an "embolic event," which occurs when a clot has obstructed blood flow, according to the suit. However, the Knox County Chief Medical Examiner determined in his autopsy and subsequent toxicology tests that, at the time of his death, the man had lethal levels of a narcotic pain medication in his system -- his death was caused by oxycodone intoxication, the lawsuit alleges.

The suit was filed against UT Medical Center and University Health System, Inc., on behalf of the man's widow. It seeks $7.5 million for damages. Similarly, medical malpractice victims in Tennessee are entitled to seek counsel to assess the validity of any legal claims and to advocate on their behalves in pursuing claims for financial relief.

Source: knoxnews.com, "Lawsuit: Jacksboro detective given fatal overdose at UT Medical Center", Jamie Satterfield, April 15, 2016

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