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Nov 14, 2021 by |

Santa Cruz County Elder Abuse Attorney: Caregiver Arrested For Alleged Morphine Overdose Of Hospice Patient


Hospice Caregiver Arrested

Allegedly Administered Medications Without License

Victim Died From Toxic Effects Of Morphine

Seniors under the care of in-home caregivers, or in nursing homes or under hospice care are are all vulnerable to the risk of elder physical abuse and neglect. Hospice patients are particularly vulnerable because they may not be aware of what is happening to them or able to communicate about it even if they are.  Increasing the risk for hospice patients is the fact that their treating physician may have prescribed morphine or fentanyl for pain relief and these potentially fatal drugs should only be administered by qualified personnel in keeping with the precise orders of the doctor.  Wherever the abuse or neglect of a senior occurs, the victim and his or her family may have recourse against those responsible.  See Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code §§ 15610.07 (definition of abuse), 15610.57 (definition of neglect), and 15610.63 (definition of physical abuse).  If you have a senior loved one who has suffered abuse from a caregiver or in a nursing home or hospice program here in Alameda County or elsewhere in California call us today at (415)441-8669 or TOLL FREE 1-888-80EVANS (888-503-8267)

Fatal Morphine Overdose

In a recent case,[1] a hospice caregiver is being charged for giving large amounts of morphine to a hospice resident without having a license to do so.  A medical examiner determined that the victim died from the toxic effects of morphine, causing police to get involved.  According to two witnesses in the criminal complaint, a home health aide employed by a hospice agency had administered the morphine over a two-day period at the end of which the victim died. Although home health aides are not licensed to administer medication, they can receive training on administering medication and are assessed competencies which means they have been tested. According to the police, the arrested aide did not pass her competencies to give patients medications.  The complaint alleges that the medicine administering computer program was actually prompting the aide to just give the victim a mouth swab of water, not morphine.  The aide allegedly administered the morphine and then rewrote the distribution times in the NARC book which is used to record the day and time when medications are given. The aide is being charged with two criminal counts and is no longer employed by the hospice agency she worked for.

Recourse For Families Of Hospice Patients

If you have a loved one who has suffered any kind of abuse or neglect, including by abandonment in a hospice program, call us at Evans Law Firm, Inc. right away.  We know how to investigate cases of physical elder abuse and how to pursue all remedies available under California law which include holding supervisors and owners responsible for neglect and abuse of institutionalized patients. Awards may include attorneys’ fees and expenses you’ve incurred in bringing your case. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15657. We will hold all parties responsible for the abuse to count, including owners of hospice and home health care agencies and owners, administrators and supervisors in nursing homes and other care facilities.

Contact Us

You can reach Ingrid M. Evans at (415) 441-8669, or by email at or TOLL FREE 1-888-80EVANS (888-503-8267)

[1] Evans Law Firm, Inc. was not involved in the reported case in any way.

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