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Insulin Injection Causes Elderly Woman’s Death

Type of Case: Medical malpractice, nursing home malpractice
Injuries Alleged: Induced hypoglycemia, hypoglycemic shock and cerebral hemorrhage, resulting in death
Name of Case: Confidential
Special Damages: $5,751 for funeral expenses
Verdict/Settlement: Settlement
Amount: $275,000
Plaintiff’s Expert: Gary Bluemink, M.D.
Defense Expert: None
Plaintiff’s Attorneys: George T. Albiston and O.L. “Buzz” Gilbert

The decedent was a 97-year-old woman who had gone into a nursing home for rehabilitation care. While in the nursing home, on Feb. 18, 2008, she was mistakenly injected with insulin in her stomach and was subsequently found unconscious. Decedent had a pacemaker for chronic atrial fibrillation but was otherwise in reasonably good health.

She was taken to Sentara Leigh Hospital where efforts to revive her from the suspected insulin exposure were unsuccessful.

Autopsy disclosed hypoglycemic encephalopathy. Incidental findings of thyroiditis, emphysema and cardiac atrial fibrillation with an S/P pacemaker placement were also found on autopsy. She was survived by a daughter and three grandchildren as statutory beneficiaries.

The defense argued that the decedent’s life expectancy was essentially zero given her age and other systemic health issues.

Plaintiff argued that prior to entering the rehab facility she was competent to handle her own affairs and physically able to do some of her activities of daily living and still enjoyed a relatively high quality of life. She resided with her daughter prior to admission to the rehabilitation facility.