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Bel Aire Assisted Living Facility Accused of Negligence in Wrongful Death Lawsuit

— August 8, 2019

The Bel Aire Assisted Living Facility in Orem was recently named in a wrongful death lawsuit after a healthy resident was given chemotherapy drugs and died.

The family of a deceased Utah woman recently filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Bel Aire Assisted Living Facility in Orem over allegations that the woman, Gloria Dunn, was “mistakenly given a medication commonly used for chemotherapy.” According to the lawsuit, the assisted living facility was responsible for administering all Dunn’s medications.

Elderly person folding their hands
Elderly person folding their hands; photo by Jorge Lopez on Unsplash,

What happened, though? For starters, during her last several weeks, Dunn was prescribed metolazone, “a diuretic medication that helps the body rid itself of excess fluid.” However, Select Pharmacy in Midvale “mistakenly sent back methotrexate, a chemotherapy drug used to treat cancer.”

Unaware that the wrong prescription had been sent over, employees at the facility administered the drug to Dunn over several weeks. Before long, she began experiencing severe pain and discomfort. During that time, the suit alleges she “met with two doctors, a registered nurse, and Brighton Home Health.” Unfortunately, the doctors failed to verify her medication and “did not realize that Bel Aire Assisted Living was not supposed to be administering methotrexate to Dunn,” the suit states.

When commenting on the matter, Ricky Shelton, the attorney representing Dunn’s family, said, “how are there so many people who had the responsibility to care for and protect this woman who failed to notice this deadly mistake?”

About a month after the facility began administering the wrong medication to Dunn, she died at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center at the age of 75. A statement issued on behalf of the family said:

Dunn was a beloved mother and grandmother and a dedicated educator, who owned the Little Scholar Preschool and worked at the Dan Peterson School in American Fork. Dunn leaves behind six children, 13 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.”

The suit itself was filed in the 3rd District Court and names not only the assisted living facility as a defendant, but also Select Pharmacy, LLC, Brighton Home Health, LLC in Salt Lake County, the University of Utah College of Pharmacy, Revere Health in Provo and six individuals. A news release regarding the matter states:

Preventing this type of tragedy from happening to anyone else is what’s most important to the Dunn family in filing this case. There have been more than 100 published incidents, including 25 deaths, where methotrexate was mistakenly administered to patients relying on the supposed care and supervision of healthcare professionals…These mistakes have continued to happen, despite the fact that the Institute for Safe Medication Practices has designated methotrexate as a high alert medication.”

In addition to accusing the defendants of negligence and wrongful death, the suit also alleges the defendants “failed to refer Dunn to the right healthcare providers as well as communicate Dunn’s condition and use of methotrexate to those providers.”


Lawsuit claims Utah woman died after she was mistakenly given chemotherapy medication

Lawsuit: Chemo medication distributed to healthy Utah woman, causing her death

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