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Duragesic Pain Patch Lawsuit Settled

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Chicago, ILPatients who deal with chronic pain may find the Duragesic patch to be a lifesaver. Reported to be four to eight times more powerful than morphine at treating pain, the Duragesic pain patch (known generically as the fentanyl patch), can dull severe pain. Unfortunately, Duragesic side effects—including a risk of fentanyl overdose—have been the focus of lawsuits that allege use of the pain patch caused serious harm and even death to some patients.

A medical malpractice lawsuit was filed against the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago by the husband and sons of Kerry Rupright, who suffered from a painful inflammation of her spinal cord. According to FOX Chicago News (09/11/10;, Rupright was given a fentanyl patch for her pain and was then transferred to the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. An attorney for the victim's family says Rupright became "drowsy, lethargic, and non-responding," which is symptomatic of fentanyl poisoning.

Instead of removing the fentanyl patch, Rupright's dosage was reduced and she was given Ambien and other medications. Four days later, Rupright, a 28-year-old mother of two, died.

The Rupright's lawsuit against the Rehabilitation Institute was settled for $3.75 million, although the Institute did not admit liability. In a statement provided to FOX News, the Institute said its staff handled the case properly.

The first warnings about fentanyl pain patches were issued by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2005, about a year after Rupright was given her fentanyl patch. Further warnings were issued in 2007. FDA warnings about the patches included problems with defective patches and patient misuse of the patch. There may also be cases of patches being prescribed in situations in which they are not appropriate.

Fentanyl patches are designed to be used in patients with chronic pain who have a tolerance for strong painkillers. They are not meant for use in post-operative cases, where the pain is temporary or where patients have not developed tolerance to other opioids.

According to a quarterly report from the Institute for Safe Medicine Practices (06/17/10;, fentanyl was fourth on the list of drugs most frequently suspected of being linked to patient deaths in 2009. The organization reports that fentanyl was reported in approximately 400 deaths in 2009.

"[Fentanyl] a powerful synthetic narcotic, provides an example of continued problems with an important high-alert drug… For years, use of fentanyl patches has presented an array of drug safety risks, which appear to be unresolved," the organization writes.

Meanwhile, in a report about 2008 adverse drug events, the organization says fentanyl is 100 times more potent than morphine and was "the suspect drug in more cases of preventable medication error than any other drug."


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Posted by

In this case Kerry Rupright was paralyzed from the neck down. She was not able to breath on her own and on a RESPIRATOR, so that meant she could not talk only blink yes or no. I'm sure if she could talk or do anything else other then lay on her back motionless for 6 months I'm sure she would have told the doc's how she felt physical and mentally or accept responsibility, again if she wasn't paralyzed on a respirator. All the med's in her system such as ambien and the patch gave her a heart attack and she went into a coma then died. In this case it WAS the doc's responsibility to watch her med's. Also doc's responsibly to recognize the warning signs and take corrective measure's and they failed to even see the signs and warnings. Again that's what we pay hospitals and doc's.

Posted by

Have your doc prescribe suboxone, it will help wean you off & is not as addictive, there is no high off it if your opiate tolerant. a lawsuit like that will just hurt people like me, making doctors even more scared to prescribe. Doctors don't go around trying to make junkies out of us that is ridiculous, you obviously were very convincing in your pain description, what pain level did you give them. You could have researched the meds, like most of us chronic pain patients do, & had a plan in mind to get off them... sounds like your taking all responsibility off your self & putting them on your doc. anyone who takes pain meds know's they take away pain, but then you have to deal with the side effects.... your doctor SHOULD have however informed you more of the side effects & worked on a pain plan with you.... but to me what you wrote sounds ignorant, feel free to correct me if I'm not seeing it, or if there is more to the story, but don't go trying to sue your doctor when s/he was just trying to get you relief, different pain meds work for different people, I have used the fentanyl patches for several weeks & never had issues getting off of them, just felt a little poopy, but that never goes away without pain meds.
but to give you a straight informative answer Sounds like you have receptor damage from too much pain meds, & there is no way to fix that BUT you can re-train them by:

A) you HAVE to wean yourself down, use methadone or suboxone, give yourself around 3 months, or more cutting the dose slightly every week, VERY SLIGHTLY so your body acclimates easily, make sure when your ready to do the jump off give yourself at least a month, yep a month! have things arranged so you are taken care of, tv dinners, friends to help clean, LOTS & LOTS OF water.
B) the only way to repair your damaged receptors is to have a regular exercise & proper nutrition, it's a must if you really want your brain to start making the right chemical again.... again lots & lots of water.
& C) invest in a hot tub or jacuzzi, get regular massages, acupuncture, make sure your getting enough supplements, in fact I overdosed myself on Vitamin , B, C & D, fish oil, supplements for joint pain? & make your environment peaceful, lots of light for your head (it makes a difference especially if you suffer from depression like me, making pain worse) & make sure your iPod is stocked with feel good tunes. believe or not at night when I'm suffering from my restless leg syndrome my tunes really help distract me....
So good luck, I hope this doesn't sound condescending, but I think you should of takin more responsibility of your own pain management, sounds to me like the doctor really sympathized with your pain, & was kind enough to not just cut you off cold turkey, cuz that's what most of them do. I do understand, I never STOP withdrawing :(

Posted by

my dr put me on fentanly patches and and bi am now a legal junky. i am highly addicted.
shev prescribed the wrong pain medicine for my injury. i wont to hold her resposible for her misuse of prescriptions so i can afford to get bhelp at rehab and get off these things. ive been on them for 3 years, and didnt know what they where, until i got a second opinion and thatv dr flipped out. im 38 yrs old, and i cant do anything without them,
ive been sick from them, went through withdrawls, ect. the dr needs to be held accountable for just writing this prescription and messing up my life. please help me.


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