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A Fatal Step on Fentanyl Patch

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Baton Rouge, LALydia's daughter, Abbey, had muscular dystrophy and was on a host of pain medications. "Our doctors didn't feel comfortable giving Abbey so many different pills so about three years ago, they suggested the fentanyl patch," says Lydia. "Abbey took it for about a year before she passed away, just after the dosage was doubled."

Duragesic VictimLydia explains that her daughter was in a lot of pain from crippling arthritis and Abbey told her if it wasn't for painkillers, she might die from the pain. "It was Abbey who asked the doctor to increase the dosage but she knew it was too strong; she was about to ask him to put her back on the regular amount," says Lydia. "After a year, they increased the dosage from 50 to 100 micrograms per day but I told her doctor that I didn't feel good with her being on something this strong…

Right around that time we gave Abbey a surprise party for her 26th birthday and she died just two months later.

As well, some of these Duragesic patches were faulty—sometimes she wouldn't feel the pain medication at all so instead of changing them every 3 days, she was told to change them every 2 days.

I know they were strong because she was lying on the bed one night and I changed her patch. I put the used one on top of the wrap from the new unopened package (I always did this so I could flush the used one without touching it). My cat jumped up onto the bed (she loved being close to Abbey) and walked over the used patch. A few hours later, my cat was dead.

Abbey cried so much, she felt so guilty. 'If I wasn't on these patches, Miss Kitty wouldn't have died,' she said. So I lost my cat February 2nd and lost my daughter May 12th. I know this fentanyl is dangerous.

Abby only had pneumonia three times in her life but it was never bad enough to be hospitalized. She was pretty tough as far as this disease was concerned so I believe that fentanyl was a contributing factor. Her death certificate just mentioned muscular dystrophy. She stopped breathing and she was on life support but I know she didn't want that so we took her off it.

I read several horror stories online about the Duragesic patch recall—the faulty patches leaching out too much fentanyl. One young kid was getting hold of them, cutting them open and taking the gel out. One boy bit into one of the patches and before he got to the hospital, he died. I told Abbey about these tragic events, I was always worried. But the doctors thought it was better to prescribe the Duragesic patch—they were worried about the number of pills she was taking. Maybe they should worry more about fentanyl."

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