An article on the WRAL webite today reports that an excessive amount of morphine contributed to the death of a patient in the Alzheimer’s unit of Britthaven of Chapel Hill nursing home.
In February, patients were drug tested when managers expressed concern about the way the patients were acting. Of 25 Alzheimer’s patients, nine tested positive for opiates. (Morphine is a type of opiate.) Three of the patients were removed from the nursing home and hospitalized, and one of those patients–Rachel Holliday–died on February 16, 2010. On autopsy, the medical examiner found extremely high doses of morphine in Ms. Holliday’s system, even though she was not scheduled to receive that medication at all.
The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) is still analyzing evidence in the case; the medical examiner did not rule out homicide.
Everyone at HensonFuerst is outraged and heartsick at these findings, and our prayers go out to the family members affected. Britthaven of Chapel Hill has been providing substandard care for a long while, as evidenced by its Medicare rating: an overall 1 out of 5 stars. It is also a “Special Focus Facility,” which means that they have a history of persistent poor quality of care. Every patient deserves the best possible care, and Britthaven of Chapel Hill has not been keeping up with the implicit promise made by every special care facility: That they will take care of your loved one.
Obviously, there has been a serious disconnect somewhere along the way. Is the staff undertrained or incompetent? Do the corporate heads not care enough improve the facility?
HensonFuerst is also investigating cases involving Britthaven of Chapel Hill nursing home patients receiving opiates. If you are concerned about a loved one who resides in this or any other facility, please give us a call. We want to help.
You can reach our nursing home abuse team by calling 1-800-4-LAW-MED.