48 million awarded for WRONGFUL DEATH – failure to properly treat pain ? Legal Dominos starting to fall over denial of pain care ?

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After a 2 wk trial, a Las Vegas jury today awarded our legal client $16 million in damages & $32 million in punitives. We alleged a lovely young mother w/ Sickle Cell Disease was fatally overdosed w/the NSAID ketorolac (Toradol), to avoid treating her pain w/ appropriate opioids.

Toradol (Ketorolac) is a very potent NSAID… so potent that there is a FDA BLACK BOX restrictions that it should not be given for more than 5 days in a row.  Mainly because it can easily cause gastric bleeding.  I have not seen much information on details behind this trial, but Sickle Cell disease can have some very painful flairs and Nevada has been one of the states whose bureaucrats took some fairly draconian actions last year to address the fabricated opiate crisis with limits on how much, when, where and by whom may prescribe opiates for pain.
What institution or prescriber who tried to avoid using a controlled substance/opiate to treat this young Mother’s Sickle Cell induced pain… apparently the pt’s health took a serious and FATAL turn because of whatever policies or edicts that was being followed.
This is just the FIRST of these types of lawsuits that I think that we will start seeing.  We have seen where large healthcare corporation have/are seeing them implementing policies/procedures/edits for their employees in how they are going to treat – or not treat – a pt’s pain and/or other subjective diseases with controlled meds.
These large healthcare corporations are large hospital complexes, PBM (Prescription Benefit Managers), Insurance companies and pharmacy chains and they all have “VERY DEEP POCKETS” and that is what plaintiff attorneys go after when people have been harmed.
Dwayne Murray poses with his wife, LaQuinta Whitley Murray and their daughter, Brooklynn, prior to Whitley Murray's death in April 2013. (Courtesy of Murray's attorney, Dan Laird)

Las Vegas hospital ordered to pay nearly $43M to family of dead woman


Centennial Hills Hospital must pay a Las Vegas man and his daughter nearly $43 million in damages after a jury ruled that the hospital and its staff breached standards of care by administering a drug that killed the man’s wife.

The jurors ruled in favor of plaintiffs Dwayne Murray and his 7-year-old daughter, Brooklynn, on Wednesday and ordered the Valley Health System hospital to pay more than $10.5 million in compensatory damages and $32.4 million in punitive damages.

The hospital and its staff administered a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug called ketorolac tromethamine, known by the brand name Toradol, in excess of the manufacturer’s recommended dose to Murray’s wife, LaQuinta Whitley Murray, his attorneys said Friday.

The dosing caused the 29-year-old to have five cardiac arrests and ultimately caused her death, attorney David Creasy said.

Whitley Murray was admitted to Centennial Hills Hospital on April 20, 2013, with severe pain tied to a sickle cell anemia crisis, acute chronic anemia and a recent strep throat infection, the court complaint said.

During Whitley Murray’s treatment at Centennial Hills, the hospital experienced a staffing shortage, according to the complaint. Because of it, she wasn’t transferred to a floor with higher-level care and necessary lab work wasn’t done, the complaint said.

She died four days after she was admitted.

In a text message statement Friday, Michael Prangle, the attorney representing Centennial Hills Hospital, said he would file a post-trial motion, then appeal if necessary.

“While we offer our deepest condolences to the family of the patient, we believe that the nurses at Centennial Hills Hospital met the standard of care in this matter,” Prangle wrote.

Murray’s attorney Dan Laird, who also is a pain medicine physician, said the decision could serve as a landmark for the treatment of sickle cell patients.

“We believe that this case is going to improve the care for sickle cell patients worldwide, because sickle cell patients are particularly susceptible to kidney damage from this drug, Toradol, and the use of Toradol in sickle cell patients needs to stop,” Laird said.

Contact Jessie Bekker at jbekker@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4563. Follow @jessiebekks on Twitter.

19 Responses

  1. […] 48 million awarded for WRONGFUL DEATH – failure to properly treat pain ? Legal Dominos starting to… […]

  2. I had to leave the country. I was loosing my mind. I was on 3x 30mg a day morphine and #25 fentanyl patch but I had torn some scar tissue / adhesion and the only relief was Ketorolac at the ER. My pain was so bad it was over 180 all the time and the doctors answer to that was we will give you another Ketorolac injection but we cannot give you more pain medicine. I said well do it I cannot survive like this. I left for Ecuador on 12/09/2018 and feel like my government wanted me to kill myself. How could they not give me more pain meds, but instead give me the most deadly anti-inflamitory there is. What is worse than the other? if I was making it up they never would have kept giving me Ketorolac (Toradal) pills and injections so they knew I was in pain and my blood pressure would drop as the anti-inflammatory took affect. I’m so angry with my country. They want all the people with intractable pain to kill themselves or just die. So here I sit in Ecuador. I get Butrans patches #35 and when needed I take Ketorolac because its all there is and I don’t need a prescription. I will end up with kidney failure because of the FDA new rules on opiates or be killed here for being who I am in South American.

    • I have considered moving out of country as well…is there like an ex-pat community there? Do speak the language? Would you mind sharing some info with me? My email is jminmass2@yahoo.com, if you don’t mind. If you’d rather not, I understand and thank you either way.
      Glad you’re getting better treatment there.

  3. It is so sad what the government is doing and our doctors are allowing it to happen! I’ve had chronic pain for over 20 years been on pain medication that long too, I’ve tried other medications which all gave me side effects, one time it ended me into the hospital went in on a Friday came out On Monday I lost three days of my life don’t remember anything and that was all because of gabapentin. I am tired of being treated like if I addicted to my pain medication and drug addict. I just want to live a quality of life. I was the first to admit I was on to high of a dose of pain medication 240 mg a day of oxycodone I had back surgery so I can come down off my pain medication to a comfortable level, Now they got me down to 50 mg of Norco a day which I have no quality-of-life I’m always in pain. I just want my quality-of-life back I do not abuse my pain medication at all.

    • I know that feeling. It is so sad I have DDD, 2 herniated disc and 2 bulging in my back. I also have osteo and rheumatoid arthritis (can’t take anti immflamitories for arthritis due to lapband surgery so pain medication is the only thing I can take to get the little relief my 30mg of percocet give) &fibromyalgia they want to put me on Gabapentin which a Neurologist just recently showed a study that in people that don’t have seizures it can prevent the growth of new brain stems gotta love off label scripts. I guess the government prefer we have no quality of life, be in debilitating pain and stupid from lack of new brain stems all over a opiate. They should not be on the market if no one can prescribe it. I will gladly chose quality of life over debilitating drawn out miserable quantity any day. Give me 5 years pain free or even close over 20 years in excruciating pain any day but, we have no say in our own destiny. Now if was a government official trying to cope with our pain I would bet money they would have a doctor there writing their opiate script. I pray for my 6 year old things change because, it scares me thinking how bad it will be if no changes are made when she is adult. If she were to have any medical issues requiring opiates.

      Note to government I am not abusing the 30mg of percocet you allow me a day.

  4. Sickle Cell disease is horrible painful disease as are many other diseases eg.Adhesive Arachnoiditis!
    These and many other disease need to be addressed and treated properly, this whole “no narcotics” move has just gotten out of hand.
    People are suffering, losing their lives in so many ways, some by suicide and some by not having the ability to function as they once did because they are now house bound or bed bound from not having their pain treated in a humanitarian way.
    The majority of people that need treatment for pain are now treated substandard, instead of being treated with support, understanding and empathy they are treated like drug addicts.
    Something has to be done and it’s not something that taking an ibuprofen dose is going to fix.

  5. Basically doctor need to be honest about all the drug they prescribe and place the risks verses the benefits. I have never had a doctor who prescribe NSAIDs every say anything about how it can cause bleeding or heart problems. Instead hear this will this will help withever. Let parient be informed and then let them make the informed decision and also take responsibility of something happens if they abuse or do not take the medication as prescribed. My doctor is not a babysitter nor a police detective and yet that what the government expect doctors to be.

  6. One disease and one great step. I tried to instigate a class action with the victims of the concert massacre. But it was in need of a lawyer. And I suspect after being expected to heal without minimal pain relief made patients anxious to forget all the days weeks and months of suffering..And those permanently left with intractable pain..were ONLY statistics..like millions of others.
    and me. stranded.

  7. 10+years ago, I was taken off my WORKING opioids & put on celebrex to control my RA pain. It did work for my ra pain but did not touch the nerve & muscle pain. After being on it for less than a month, my feet & legs started swelling so big that they actually started leaking fluid from my pores. I also started getting very short of breath, pounding headaches, dizzy spells, & my bp was off the charts!
    Finally after 7mo. my doc took me off the celebrex & within a week everything got a lot better. Then I started taking RX motrin & everything came back w/ a vengeance & even though I stopped taking all nsaids, nothing got better! I was diagnosed w/ congestive heart failure & uncontrollable bp & it is this that disabled me! Just getting up & walking around the house causes my bp to spike dangerous high (226/125) my heart races as if I am running a marathon, & extremely short of breath w/ dizzy spells that I feel like I will pass out! So I have to sit down & have become a prisoner in my own home as I am unable to go anywhere or do anything as I fear having a major stroke (I’ve had 6 mini strokes so far!)
    All this just to avoid opioids (that I did end up having to go back on anyway) We should be given the right to choose what risks we are willing to take w/ our OWN bodies!! Had I been given that choice; I would have chosen the risk of addiction over the horrific & disabling risks of celebrex & other nsaids!!
    All of this does not include the fact that I got liver poisoning from the massive amount of tylenol they had me taking in the norco cause they would not put me back on oxycontin (too addictive!)
    Why don’t our stories & lives matter? I wish I could sue; but thank God, they did not kill me; (Yet!)

    • The VA Here in Montana Just started taking me off my Hydro’s which I’ve been on now over ten years..I can not think or function when I run out..I get dizzy. Can’t see well and sicker than a dog

      • I am so sorry. The VA is a group of barbarians that use our Vets to experiment on. I sincerely hope you have rcvd relief, now 3 yrs later!

  8. All of us in the chronic pain community are deeply saddended by anybody’s unnecessary death. Especially as a direct result of their inability to obtain legally prescribed opiates which would more effectively manage one’s severe, chronic pain issues. I’ve been using PERCOCET to manage my chronic pain during the past 28 years. They have literally have saved my life when the types, severity and duration of my crippling and debilitating pain were absolutely tortuous. I know for a fact that I would have been forced to take my own life had I not had access to prescribed opiates. There are obvious reasons why they are and remain the most effective pain management strategy. “THROWING THE BABY OUT WITH THE BATH WATER” is the wrong strategy to employ in fighting the illegal opiate usage and OD’S occurring on the streets. Moreover, including deaths resulting from heroine in the same statistical category as physician prescribed responsibly administered opiates to veteran chronic pain patients is a total fiasco!!!!!

  9. I’m sickened that a woman died because a physician did not follow protocol. She is but one of many Chronic Pain Patients who has been offered up as a Sacrifical Lamb in the mishandled war on opioids. It is my wish that more and more patients will sue physicians, pharmacies, pharmacists and insurance providers who discriminate against those of us who depend on Opioids to lead productive lives! We are not addicts. We are ill and require our medication, just as a hypertensive patient needs his/her blood pressure medication.
    Thirty-five years of nursing ,writing a care plan and implementing that care plan specific to one patient was the foundation of patient care. Unless the fundementals of nursing have been rewritten, the Patient’s needs are still to be addressed. Patient care still comes first!
    We need to demand that our needs be met (loudly)! Physicians need to remember why they practice and who they pledged to treat. Insurance and Pharmacudical companies should not be allowed to manage our medical care.

    • I am also a nurse with 30 years of practice but had to finally give up my license after10 years of being unable to practice. I felt like I was gut-punched when I received my notice of the cancellation of my license to practice and cried for a few days.
      I noticed one of the final comments made by one of the attorneys was ““While we offer our deepest condolences to the family of the patient, we believe that the nurses at Centennial Hills Hospital met the standard of care in this matter,”” Prangle wrote. While I believe that as nurses, we are compelled to be patient advocates, I feel by this statement that the nurses were thrown under the bus. What about the physicians that wrote the orders and the pharmacists that dispensed the drug? With so much computerization of the health care industry, you would think that a failsafe would be in place to prevent incidences such as this. One of the issues I had with being a nurse was that no matter who dropped the ball, the responsibility and repercussions always fell on the nurse.

  10. need info for attorneys that will take this on

  11. Those prescription NSAIDS are not safe at all. If you have trouble with your stomach to start with, be prepared!!

  12. Bout 10 years ago,,,they gave me soooo much Toradol,,,my skin turned brown,,,,,Same reason,,,did not to use the medicine that work’d,,opiates,,,,Eventually they went to the medicine that works,,,,opiates,,,,WHEN the doctors nurse pointed out how brown i was in the midde of January!!

  13. Our Government’s overreach had gone to far and has pain Patient’s deaths. They have blood on there hands.


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