Sued for post-op pain control with morphine

A 17-year old dies after a tonsillectomy:

Irene Triplett’s lawyer, Bruce Fagel, said that Lee ordered the nurses to give Versed, a sedative, to calm Gomez before surgery. At the post-anesthesia care unit, Gomez was given two injections of two milligrams of morphine. The injections were 10 minutes apart, Fagel said. The morphine was given because a nurse thought Gomez was in pain because he was “moaning.” Those drugs caused him to stop breathing, Fagel contends.

Defense attorneys are denying their clients were responsible. Experts testified about the effects of drugs and how they might have affected Gomez’s medical condition, obstructive sleep apnea. Also, the surgery was complicated because he had a large tongue, small airway and large tonsils, characteristics of Down syndrome. They also have pointed out to jurors that Gomez was 4 feet 10 inches tall and was overweight at 176 pounds.

2mg of morphine 10 minutes apart should not lead to respiratory failure.

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