WINNIPEG -- A Manitoba family has launched a lawsuit against a rural hospital, alleging medical staff gave their relative a lethal dose of morphine to treat pain in his right knee.
The family of Henry Peters Dyck filed a statement of claim against the South Eastman Regional Health Authority last month, seeking damages for negligence the family alleges contributed to his death.
Documents filed in Manitoba's Court of Queen's Bench say Dyck suffered a heart attack and died on Aug. 2, 2008, in Bethesda Hospital in Steinbach, after he overdosed on morphine administered by staff.
The allegations in the court documents have not been proven in court. The documents say Dyck was admitted to hospital on July 23, 2008, with hemarthrosis in his right knee, a condition involving pain and bleeding in the joint.
The statement of claim alleges that, on Aug. 1, a nurse gave Dyck a cup containing 100 milligrams of morphine, as opposed to the 20 milligrams he was supposed to ingest at that time.
Court documents allege hospital staff attempted to reverse the morphine poisoning under the direction of Dr. Curtis Krahn by pumping his stomach, flushing his bowel and inducing vomiting. None of the measures worked, and Dyck's condition deteriorated until he suffered a heart attack and died four hours after the overdose.
The cause of Dyck's death was subsequently confirmed by an autopsy, court documents said.
South Eastman Regional Health Authority officials would not comment on the lawsuit, but said they take patient-safety issues very seriously.
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