The family of a Steinbach man who allege he died from a morphine overdose is suing his doctor, nurse, hospital and South Eastman Health.
Two years ago Henry Peters Dyck was admitted to Bethesda Hospital in Steinbach with pain in his knee. The documents say he was admitted to hospital on July 23, 2008, with hemarthrosis in his right knee, a condition involving pain and bleeding in the joint.
He was prescribed a dosage of 10 to 30 milligrams of morphine to alleviate his pain. But several days after being admitted he was instead given 100 milligrams of morphine, the family alleges in a statement of claim filed in the Court of Queen’s Bench.
The statement of claim alleges that on August 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. After Dyck began showing signs of distress, medical staff, under the direction of Dr. Curtis Krahn, attempted to pump his stomach and flush his system of the drug but he suffered a heart attack and died four hours later, says the claim.
An autopsy was conducted and, according to the court documents, the cause of death was confirmed.
The family has launched a lawsuit against Bethesda Hospital and South Eastman Health, along with Dr. Krahn and a nurse in charge of Dyck’s care for unspecified damages.
John Stinson, Vice-president of Acute Care and Planning for the South Eastman Health Region, declined to discuss the specific case but said the matter would have been investigated at the time.
“All the usual procedures that we would follow in any situation were done in this case,” Stinson said.
South Eastman Health has a good track record when it comes to patient safety, he said.
“We’ve had a handful of critical incidents in the last decade,” Stinson said. “Not that we don’t get patient concerns and family concerns brought forward. But we have good processes and policies in place to respond to those quickly and make corrections to our procedures that need to be made.”
He added that new procedures could be created to address the concerns and make sure that such an incident does not happen again.