According to a November report in the Florida Times-Union, Patricia Ann Gay was supervising the activities of her grandson Jonathan See—then four years of age—on July 25, 2006 at her home in Jacksonville. When the boy bumped his head after jumping from a living room chair, his grandmother presumably could not locate a standard-issue band-aid in the house.
Instead, she applied a Fentanyl pain patch. See died from a toxic level of Fentanyl in his blood.
Gay's family had testified that Gay was depressed prior to her grandson's death, and relatives had been concerned with regard to the prevalence of painkillers in the home.
Circuit Judge Adrian G. Soud in Jacksonville called Gay's actions "unreasonable, unexplainable and inexcusable."
The tragedy underscores the danger inherent with Fentanyl, and also the Fentanyl Duragesic patch, a product that contains a potent opioid several times stronger than morphine. Duragesic patch patients normally have to be gradually acclimatized to the effects of an opioid medication, rather than start into it 'cold' due to the potency.
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However, in the past some doctors have been known to prescribe the Duragesic patch for conditions that don't warrant such a strong medication. Patients, or their immediate caregivers, have not been apprised of the dangers inherent with Fentanyl, which is classed as a narcotic.
Then there is the concern over the dispensing method. A previous Fentanyl patch recall was undertaken when a breach in the product reservoir led to leakage of Fentanyl, posing an overdose hazard for patients and their caregivers. It is not known if the Fentanyl patch in the Jacksonville incident, which occurred four years ago, may have been defective.