NURSING HOME RESIDENTS: POISONED WITH MORPHINE?

Illinois State police are investigating the Woodstock Residence, a nursing home located in northern Illinois, and its employees. According to published reports citing unnamed sources, the inquiry focuses on allegations that a former employee at the 115-bed nursing and rehabilitation center in Woodstock gave several residents fatal doses of morphine. Unidentified sources told The (Crystal Lake) Northwest Herald that the former employee was under investigation for as many as six deaths over the past two years.

More than three weeks ago, Illinois State Police began an inquiry focused on possible morphine overdoses at the Woodstock Residence Nursing Home. Investigators interviewed a former employee of Woodstock Residence and believe the deaths suspicious but are not calling them homicides. No one has been charged.

Investigators are considering exhumation of the bodies as a way to determine if an overdose of morphine was the cause of death. However, the residents’ bodies were likely embalmed, a process in which blood is drained and replaced with fluid, and as a result, there may be little if any recoverable blood in the remains to test for high levels of morphine.
Woodstock Residence has reported 34 deaths so far this year, compared with 18 in both 2005 and 2004. A Medicare Web site indicated the home had 81 residents in 2005. Read the full story in the Chicago Tribune.

Dan Frith

Dan Frith

Dan Frith has over 25 years of experience representing individuals and families in cases of medical malpractice throughout Virginia. He has been named "Best Medical Malpractice Attorney" by Roanoker Magazine and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. To speak with Dan, contact him by email at dfrith@frithlawfirm.com.