Lawsuit Claims Woman Died After Given Wrong Medication At Assisted Living Facility

Aug 9, 2019, 6:25 AM

OREM, Utah – The family of a 75-year-old woman has filed a wrongful death lawsuit after they say she was mistakenly given the wrong medication at an assisted living facility.

As difficult as it was for Gloria Dunn’s children to say goodbye, daughter Tani Griffin said “it was just such a sense of loss that this didn’t have to happen. And there wasn’t anything that we could do about it.”

The mother of six, grandmother of 13, and great-grandmother of two raised her family in Utah County.

“She really devoted her life to education of children and people who had special needs,” son Joshua Dunn said.

In May 2018, Gloria moved into Bel Aire Assisted Living in Orem.

“She liked the activities that they provided, and she just really felt comfortable there,” Joshua Dunn said.

The comfort wouldn’t last, though. In July, a healthcare provider prescribed Gloria the medication metolazone, which helps the body get rid of excess water.

Gloria Dunn’s family says she gave the prescription to the assisted living facility, which sent it to Select Pharmacy in Midvale.

In a wrongful death lawsuit filed Wednesday against 11 defendants, the Dunn family said pharmacy employees “mistakenly sent back methotrexate instead … a dangerous drug to eradicate cancer cells.”

“Within three days, mom had deteriorated to the point where she wasn’t functioning,” Joshua Dunn said. “She was shutting down.”

According to the complaint, assisted living employees then “administered methotrexate to Gloria over and over again, despite knowing she did not have cancer.”

Gloria Dunn sought treatment from several healthcare providers, but the family says none of the providers made the connection to her medication and her condition quickly got worse.

“She couldn’t breathe. She had serious mouth sores. It was a hard thing to watch,” Griffin said. “If this had happened from natural causes, that would have been horrible enough. But to know that this didn’t have to happen … her level of suffering was terrible.”

Gloria Dunn died weeks after on Aug. 27 at 75 years old. Now her family wants to know what went wrong.

“We just want to make sure it doesn’t happen to somebody else because the amount of suffering that woman, my mom had to deal with is unbelievable,” Joshua Dunn said.

“The best way for this to not happen again is to hold people accountable so that in the future these kinds of human errors can be caught so nobody has to suffer the way she did,” Griffin said.

A representative at Select Pharmacy told KSL TV “no comment” over the phone when asked about the lawsuit. KSL TV reached out to Bel Aire Assisted Living by phone and email but received no response as of Wednesday.

The University Of Utah College Of Pharmacy is also listed as a defendant in the complaint. In a statement, University of Utah Healthcare wrote: “Our deepest condolences go out to the Dunn Family. We continue to gather information on this case and have no comment at this time.”

Revere Health, another defendant, wrote in part, “Due to HIPAA privacy rules, we are not able to comment on who we may have or may not have treated, nor on any specific case. We strive to provide the best services to those we have the privilege to treat.”

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Lawsuit Claims Woman Died After Given Wrong Medication At Assisted Living Facility