According to the Pennsylvania Record (6/22/12), Tracy King filed the lawsuit on behalf of her deceased sister, Sonya Marshall. The lawsuit alleges that Marshall died on June 19, 2010, of fentanyl toxicity but states she did not misuse the patch or the fentanyl in any way.
Since fentanyl pain patches were released on the market, there have been several recalls of a variety of patches because of manufacturing defects. Those defects resulted in holes in the patches, which allowed the fentanyl to come into contact with the patient's skin. Fentanyl is a powerful opioid, around 80 times stronger than morphine. When it comes into contact with a patient's skin, it is absorbed by the system too quickly, resulting in slowing of the patient's respiratory system.
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Symptoms of a fentanyl overdose include dizziness, weakness, slow breathing, seizures, and small pupils.
In April 2012, the FDA warned that young children are also at risk of harm from fentanyl pain patches, even in situations where the patch is not defective. Children have died or been hospitalized due to fentanyl exposure from patches that were not properly discarded.
Tracy King's lawsuit alleges manufacturing and design defect, failure to warn and negligence. It further alleges that the defendants knew about the "unreasonably dangerous risks" associated with the patch but did not adequately warn the patient or her physician.