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$1.4M awarded in death of Spanish Fork man given wrong medication

$1.4M awarded in death of Spanish Fork man given wrong medication

(Obituary)



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PROVO — A Provo care facility and a former nurse must pay $1.4 million for the death of a man who was given the wrong medications, a jury has ruled.

Provo Rehabilitation and Nursing was ordered to pay the bulk of the damages to the family of Jack Adams, 71, who died Feb. 11, 2010, after a nurse at the facility gave him the wrong medications, then altered medication records in an attempt to cover up her mistake, according to the complaint.

The nurse, Camille Jensen, reportedly gave Adams three medications meant for another patient. Jensen did not report the error, instead giving Adams' medications to another patient so that medicine counts would appear correct, according to the lawsuit.

Adams died two days later. Jensen allegedly waited until five days after the man's funeral to inform Provo Rehabilitation and Nursing about the mix-up.

Had Jensen reported the mistake, Adams' life likely could have been saved, experts who reviewed the case agreed.

Criminal charges were never filed against Jensen, though the lawsuit indicates the Utah Attorney General's Office investigated the case. Jensen lost her nursing license, filed for bankruptcy and moved out of Utah, according to attorneys for Adams' family.

Following Adams' death, the care facility informed the man's family about the mistake but denied responsibility, then billed the family for the nursing services, according to the family's attorney. Details about the exchange were not allowed in the four-day jury trial.

The jury deliberated nearly five hours Friday before awarding the $1.4 million judgment. The jury ascribed 35 percent of fault in Adams' death to Jensen and 65 percent of fault to Provo Rehabilitation and Nursing. Jurors determined the nurse was not acting in line with the responsibilities of her job when she concealed the mistake.

The plaintiffs had asked the jury for between $4 million and $6 million, attorneys for Provo Rehabilitation noted, adding that it "intends to pursue all post-verdict options available."

The civil lawsuit filed against Provo Rehabilitation and Nursing claimed the company acted recklessly in assigning Jensen, who was not familiar with Adams and had not been adequately briefed on his care, to treat the man. Prior to the trial, Provo Rehabilitation was not found to be independently liable for Adams' death, and allegations of recklessness were not presented to the jury, the company said.

In his February 2010 obituary, Adams was remembered as a loving family man with a contagious laugh, who enjoyed tending roses and caring for his Boston terrier.

McKenzie Romero

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