An Etowah County jury awarded $20 million Wednesday to a Saks woman whose mother died while in the care of a Gadsden hospital.
The Etowah County Circuit Court jury awarded the settlement to Regina Honts in her lawsuit against HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Gadsden, court records show. The lawsuit states Honts’ mother, Doris Green, 79, died from an allergic reaction to an opiate.
Honts declined to comment Thursday, instead deferring all statements to her attorney, Bruce Downey, who is also attorney for the city of Anniston.
“This family is very appreciative of the jury and thankful of the result and hopeful the verdict will save lives in the future,” Downey said.
Attempts to reach HealthSouth’s attorneys for comment Thursday were unsuccessful.
Downey said it took the jury three hours to reach a verdict after the week-and-a-half long trial over Green’s death in 2011.
According to court records, Honts filed the lawsuit in 2013 against HealthSouth as her mother’s personal representative.
The lawsuit states that Green was admitted to HealthSouth on June 23, 2011 for rehabilitation for two weeks, with the goal of then returning her home to live with Honts. HealthSouth administered opiates to Green on or about July 5, 2011, even though she was admitted with clear warnings that she was allergic to such drugs, the lawsuit states.
Around 4:40 a.m. on July 5, 2011, a HealthSouth nurse discovered Green in an unresponsive state. After revival attempts, Green was sent to Gadsden Regional Medical Center and arrived in a coma, the lawsuit states.
Two tests of Green’s urine at Gadsden Regional showed opiates were in her system. The lawsuit states Gadsden Regional staff stabilized her condition, then sent her home to be cared for by a home health provider. Green was soon shown to have suffered permanent brain damage because of her allergic reaction to the un-prescribed opiate and died on Oct. 22, 2011, as a result, the lawsuit states.