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Wilkes & McHugh
PHOENIX, Ariz./April 6, 2011/ – A 54-year-old woman died from a drug overdose in a nursing home. Now, her daughter is suing the facility for wrongful death and negligence.
Pamela Sheffield was a mother of 10 children, two of them under the age of 18. Sheffield suffered a stroke in 2007 and required skilled care and rehabilitation. Her daughter, Lisa Brissette, tried to care for her at home, but ultimately had to trust Maravilla Care Center with that responsibility.
The owners, operators and staff at the nursing home knew Sheffield was in a compromised state. The stroke left her partially paralyzed, and she needed close monitoring and medical attention. She depended on the nursing home staff for her daily activities, including eating, hygiene and exercise.
But the staff at Maravilla Care Center failed Pamela Sheffield. On May 17, 2009, she was found unconscious with bluish-purple skin. Symptoms pointed to an adverse reaction to or an overdose of medication. Emergency services were called but canceled when Steve Frank, a nurse at the home, told Sheffield’s attending physician that she was stable (even though she was still unresponsive).
They called 911 again later, but Sheffield was pronounced dead at the hospital. The Maricopa County Medical Examiner determined that the cause was acute Citalopram, Lorazepam, Midazolam, and Oxycodone intoxication.
The case, Sheffield, Pamela v. Maravilla Care Center, was filed Feb. 7, 2011, in Maricopa County Superior Court. Elizabeth Gilbert, of Wilkes & McHugh, P.A. in Phoenix, is representing the family.
Sheffield’s injuries were entirely preventable had the defendants simply provided the nursing home with sufficient staff, in number and training, to provide her with the care she needed, according to the lawsuit, which also alleges negligence, abuse pursuant to the Adult Protective Services Act, and wrongful death.
“Defendants, by engaging in the conduct alleged herein, made a conscious decision to promote profits instead of providing the legally mandated care, which Pamela Marie Sheffield deserved,” the lawsuit states.
The family is seeking compensatory and punitive damages, as well as attorneys’ fees and other costs.