Patients who are undergoing withdrawal and trying to stay clean are particularly vulnerable to medical emergencies. As the opioid epidemic causes demand for addiction treatment to surge, industry veterans say tougher standards, better screening and greater oversight are needed to improve patient safety.
….During her nearly three days at an Arizona drug detox center, law enforcement reports show, an Ohio mother repeated the same request to multiple staff members: Take me to the hospital.
…She had trouble breathing. Her pulse raced. She was wheezing, and her lungs sounded “crackly,” staff members told investigators.
She appeared lethargic and ill. One technician told investigators her complexion was jaundiced, and her lips were purple. Another said she went from pale to yellow to blue.
…But she was not sent to the full-service hospital located less than a mile away. Instead, she collapsed in her room at Serenity, and was soon pronounced dead.
…When Shaun Reyna contacted a Murrieta, California, treatment center in 2013, he was told he would receive a medical detoxification, an attorney for the family said in a lawsuit.
Reyna, battling alcohol and benzodiazepene addiction, was desperate for help, attorney Jeremiah Lowe says.
…He was admitted, and left unattended in his room. He slashed his arm, chest and neck with a razor and bled to death.
…Cody Arbuckle died at a Las Vegas addiction treatment facility owned by AAC last July. A coroner listed the cause as toxicity from loperamide, an ingredient in the anti-diarrhea drug Imodium A-D.
…Staff at the Solutions Recovery house reported that Arbuckle was under the influence of drugs. But rather than transporting him to a hospital, they say in a lawsuit, they sent him to a “non-medical residential detoxification house” in Las Vegas.
Arbuckle was supposed to be under 24-hour monitoring, the lawyers say in the lawsuit, but he was not checked over 14 hours overnight. He was found dead the following morning.
The lawyers say in the lawsuit that AAC kept Arbuckle “in their non-medical program for business reasons, because they did not want to let go of their paying client.”
He became the seventh patient who died shortly after entering an AAC facility, the attorneys say in the lawsuit.