Utah family awarded $1.6 million verdict over patient’s combined painkiller overdose death

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by Jim Orr

A family of a Utah man who died from a combined drug overdose caused by treatment with opioid painkillers and other medications has been awarded a $1.6 million verdict against the hospital where the overdose occurred.

Randy Krambule of Pleasant View, Utah, suffered from chronic back pain. Krambule was undergoing treatment and pain management at Intermountain Healthcare’s North Ogden Clinic. Intermountain Healthcare (IHC), Utah’s largest healthcare network provider, owns more than 20 hospitals and other facilities in Utah.

Krambule’s treatment regime included a large number of painkillers, sedatives and sleep medications. Krambule was taking up to 33 pills per day, according to a medical malpractice lawsuit filed by his family. One morning in April of 2008, Krambule’s wife found him in bed unresponsive and not breathing.

Krambule died of combined drug toxicity, according to allegations in the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family against the clinic. Among other claims, the family alleged that the clinic failed to adequately supervise Krambule’s drug regimen through proper urine testing, pill counts, mental status evaluations and questioning for toxic symptoms.

Following an eight-day medical malpractice trial, a jury in Ogden, Utah has found the clinic was negligent and responsible for Krambule’s death. The jury awarded damages of $1,676,737 to the plaintiffs.

Heygood, Orr & Pearson fights for victims of prescription drug overdoses

Prescription painkillers are among the deadliest drugs used by patients in the U.S., according to FDA statistics. When a loved one has been the victim of overdose caused by opioid painkillers, the manufacturer of the drug—or the doctor or hospital who prescribed them—may be to blame. Sometimes doctors prescribe too many of these powerful painkillers, sometimes doctors prescribe these potent drugs in dosages that are too high, and sometimes doctors prescribe them with other drugs that can cause dangerous and even fatal drug interactions.

Doctors have to be extremely careful, and follow established protocols, when prescribing multiple central nervous system depressants (sometimes abbreviated as “CNS depressants”) to the same patient. Tragically, doctors sometimes prescribe powerful drugs that are CNS depressants without adequately taking into account the patient’s prescriptions for other drugs that are also CNS depressants.

When doctors fail to follow established protocols for prescribing these drugs, drug abuse, addiction, tolerance, or overdose may be the result. When patients are prescribed excessive amounts of painkillers by their doctor, or when they are kept on these drugs after pain has subsided, individuals who take powerful opioids to manage pain may be at risk of an overdose. Unless they are properly treated and monitored, these patients may lapse into respiratory arrest or respiratory depression, which may be fatal.

The lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson are committed to helping patients and their families who have been affected by doctors who irresponsibly prescribe opioid painkillers and other potentially deadly drugs to their patients. Heygood, Orr & Pearson has represented numerous patients who have suffered complications from excessive painkiller prescriptions by a doctor or hospital. In fact, the lawyers at our firm have handled more cases involving the powerful fentanyl pain patch than all other law firms in the country combined.

The attorneys at Heygood, Orr & Pearson are trial attorneys in the truest sense and have tried hundreds of cases to verdict. Our three named partners are all board certified* and have been voted by their peers as Super Lawyers in the state of Texas for several years in a row.** Heygood, Orr & Pearson is AV-rated, the highest legal and ethical rating available from the leading law firm rating service.

For more information about an opioid painkiller lawsuit and to find out if you qualify to file a case, contact the lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001. You can also reach us by following the link to our free case evaluation form located on this site.

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* Michael Heygood, James Craig Orr, Jr. and Eric Pearson are all Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law — Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

** Michael Heygood, James Craig Orr, Jr. and Eric Pearson were selected to the Super Lawyers List, a Thomson Reuters publication, for the years 2003 through 2014.