New Mexico Couple Sues Hospital for Negligence

New Mexico Couple Sues Hospital for NegligenceA couple from Santa Fe, New Mexico, is suing Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center, alleging the hospital failed to properly monitor the wife while she was taking painkillers and was responsible for her traumatizing near death experience.

According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, the lawsuit was filed on December 20 in state District Court, and claims Zelda Jiron was admitted to the hospital's emergency room for severe abdominal pain, where she was intravenously given the painkiller Dilaudid.

Dilaudid, which contains a form of morphine called hydromorphone, is used to treat severe pain, and can produce serious adverse health effects, including death, if a patient is given too much, according to the National Library of Medicine.

After she was given the medicine, Jiron's husband Simon says he returned from the hospital cafeteria to find his wife in bed with her arms twitching, her face purple, foaming at the mouth and her eyes rolled back, according to the complaint.

"Simon began to yell for help, and a nurse rushed in, loudly summoning other nurses, and declaring 'Code Blue,'" it says. "When Ms. Jiron regained consciousness, one of the Christus staff told Simon, 'Two more minutes like that and she's gone!'"

The media outlet states the lawsuit alleges the hospital staff should have known that people who are "morbidly obese," as Jiron is described, often experience obstructed blood flow during sleep that can be exacerbated by "any narcotic analgesic medication, including Dilaudid."

Jiron's ensuing cardio-pulmonary arrest prompted a "near death experience," according to the complaint, which has in turn allegedly caused severe and ongoing emotional problems, forcing her to resign from her job as a state tax examiner.

The couple now seeks compensatory and punitive damages in the case.