Man sues doctor, Medtronic for overdose of pain meds

Kelly Holleran Jun. 11, 2012, 4:25pm


A Jefferson County man has filed suit against the doctor and other entities that he claims caused him to overdose on pain medication.

John Kimbley claims defendant Dr. Jerry M. Keepers prescribed an intrathecal injection at double the rate he should have, causing Kimbley to become unresponsive and to sustain irreversible anoxic brain damage.

Kimbley claims he began taking the intravenous pain medication after undergoing a trial run from May 24, 2010, through June 3, 2010. Kimbley required the pain medication after sustaining an on-the-job injury at work, which caused him low-back pain, according to the complaint filed June 1 in Jefferson County District Court.

During the trial run, Kimbley was injected with one milligram of morphine sulfate each day, the suit states. At the end of the trial, Kimbley revisited Keepers and informed the doctor that he was experiencing "100 percent pain relief," the complaint says.

Keepers recommended that Kimbley continue with the treatment and suggested a permanent implantation ofthe intrathecal device. Because of his success with the trial run, Kimbley claims he agreed to the procedure.

The pump, which is manufactured by defendant Medtronic, was inserted into Kimbley on June 22, 2010, at defendant Renaissance Northeast Surgery Center, according to the complaint.

According to the lawsuit, during the surgery, Keepers and a Medtronic representative decided to increase the amount of pain medication that would be injected into Kimbley's body. Even though the one milligram per day relieved Kimbley's pain during the trial run, the doctor decided to increase the dosage to two milligrams per day, the suit states.

In addition, instead of morphine sulfate in the pump, staff at Renaissance Northeast inserted Dilaudid – a much stronger painkiller – into the device, the complaint says.

"With Dilaudid being substituted for Morphine Sulfate in the permanent implantation of the intrathecal pump and catheter on June 22, and programmed for an infusion rate of two milligrams per day, Mr. Kimbley was receiving the equivalent of an oral Morphine daily dose closer to 700 milligrams per day – a clear overdosage of Dilaudid," the suit states.

As a result, Kimbley claims he was found unresponsive the following day and was rushed to Memorial Hermann Baptist Hospital in Beaumont, where he was found to have suffered from anoxic brain damage and multi-organ failure.

Because of the incident, Kimbley sustained physical pain and mental anguish; incurred medical costs and suffered impairment, physical incapacity and disability; and sustained mental incapacity, according to the complaint. In addition, he lost wages, the suit states.

Kimbley alleges negligence against Medtronic and Renaissance Northeast. He also says Keepers breached the standard of care.

In his complaint, Kimbley seeks an unspecified judgment, plus damages, pre- and post-judgment interest, costs and other relief the court deems just.

Craig Lewis and John J. Brothers of The Lewis Law Firm in Houston will be representing him.

The case has been assigned to Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th District Court.

Case No. D192-524

More News