Aurora nursing home hit with $3 million verdict over resident’s fatal overdose

An Aurora nursing home has been hit with a $3 million judgment stemming from a lawsuit alleging that a 76-year-old resident negligently received a fatal painkiller dose in 2019.

A Cook County jury awarded the judgment this month to the family of Norma Darnell, who lived in Alden Courts of Waterford, the Chicago-based Malman Law firm announced Tuesday.

Alden, a memory care and assisted living facility, was sued for negligence and wrongful death. It admitted liability and causation a few days before the trial started May 30, according to Malman.

Alden did not return email and phone messages seeking comment Tuesday.

Darnell moved to Alden in 2017 for care of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to Malman. She was put on hospice care, and her doctor prescribed hydromorphone for pain, the firm stated.

The suit alleged that from October to December 2019, an Alden nurse administered an incorrect dose of hydromorphone multiple times. Then, on the night shift of Dec. 14-15, 2019, she administered 10 times the prescribed dosage, the suit alleged.

Darnell died Dec. 17 of pneumonia due to the overdose, according to the lawsuit.

The nurse acknowledged giving the overdose, telling the Illinois Department of Public Health she gave the medication via a cup because a syringe was never available, the lawsuit stated.

She said she didn’t realize she was making the mistake until she ran out of the medication, according to Malman.

“Norma endured immense and needless suffering,” Malman attorney Madison B. Cogan said in a statement. “Her daughter, Barbara (Moss), was determined to ensure that everyone knew Norma’s story and understood the injustice of her death.”

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