WILKES-BARRE – The mother of a man who died after a drug overdose has filed a lawsuit in Luzerne County Court against several doctors and First Hospital of Wyoming Valley, alleging they are responsible for her son’s death after he was admitted to the hospital for suicidal thoughts and then prescribed painkillers.
Karla Turner, of Hamburg, filed the suit through her attorney, Jared Kasher, of New Jersey, in county court Wednesday against doctors Steven Kafrissen and Albert Janerich, First Hospital, Wilkes-Barre Behavior Hospital Co., Wilkes-Barre Hospital Co. and the Wyoming Valley Heath Care System after her son’s March 23, 2011, death.
The suit alleges negligence and wrongful death and asks for more than $350,000 in damages and a jury trial.
According to the suit, Kevin Turner was transferred on March 18, 2011, from Hazleton General Hospital to First Hospital for inpatient psychiatric treatment due to suicidal thoughts. The 24-year-old was seen by doctors who believed Kevin Turner suffered from bipolar disorder, depression, substance abuse, a herniated disc, hypertension, gastroesophageal reflux disease and asthma.
On March 21, Turner was seen by doctors for a complaint of pain in his back and was prescribed a fentanyl patch for pain relief every three days; surgery also had been discussed, the suit states.
The suit alleges Turner’s doctors did not consult with each other to discuss his conditions, and that Turner was prescribed the pain killer.
On March 22, 2011, Turner was discharged from First Hospital, the suit says, along with his prescribed medications. Turner died the following day as a result of the “negligence of the defendants,” the suit says.
An April 19, 2011, an autopsy revealed Turner died of a drug overdose showing an excessive amount of fentanyl in his system.
The suit alleges the doctors and hospital were negligent in that they failed to properly examine Turner, obtain a correct medical and drug history, anticipate and prevent Turner’s death, provide proper information and Turner’s conditions to health care providers and inappropriately used the fentanyl patches.
Additionally, the suit says the hospital, among other claims, failed to properly manage Turner’s back pain, dispensed an “inappropriate and deadly medication” and failed to provide proper medical and psychiatric care to Turner.