Substance abuse treatment centers are often touted as the reliable cure for addiction. Patients struggling with substance abuse enter a facility where they expect to receive therapy, help with withdrawal symptoms, and the support they need.
However, there is a darker side to substance abuse treatment centers, sometimes people die in substance abuse treatment centers due to a lack of monitoring or for other reasons.
Twenty-two-year-old Madison Cross entered a Columbus, Ohio treatment center seeking help to cure her opioid dependence. Less than 72 hours later, she died due to pneumonia and complications related to heroin toxicity. Staff at the substance abuse center failed to transfer her to a hospital, even as her skin yellowed, and her lips turned purple.
In Danvers, Massachusetts, two patients died in a luxury rehab center. One of the deaths is believed to be due to drugs smuggled into the facility, while the second death, at the time of the report, was still unknown.
If a loved one died while receiving treatment in a substance abuse clinic, the clinic may be held liable for their negligence. A medical malpractice and wrongful death lawyer can help you determine your legal options.
How Substance Abuse Treatment Centers Can Help with Addiction
According to the 2017 annual report of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), more than 19 million Americans struggle with addiction and substance abuse. Getting clean is incredibly difficult for many people, and many turn to substance abuse treatment centers for help to get and stay clean.
While each center is different, most substance abuse treatment centers provide the following services:
- Assistance with detoxing
- Drug counseling programs
- Group therapy
- Medical care
- Yoga and meditation classes
- Nutritional support
- Assistance with aftercare plans
While substance abuse treatment centers can provide much-needed support for those suffering from drug addiction, some times that care goes wrong. If your loved one passed away due to negligence at a substance abuse treatment center, the center may be liable for your damages.
Deaths at Addiction Treatment Centers
In 2015, more than 1.4 million people sought treatment for substance addiction at inpatient, outpatient, and residential treatment centers, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
The same federal agency also recorded 3,362 deaths that occurred in those centers. While the agency does not provide a break down for the cause of deaths, lack of monitoring in these centers is a crucial piece of the puzzle.
Also presented in the Madison Cross article from USA Today, California state regulators investigated the substance abuse treatment centers in their state and found more than 150 deaths between 2014 to 2018. Regulators feel the growing demand for substance abuse treatments has failed to give adequate individual assessments for patients.
People Can Die in Substance Abuse Treatment Centers Due to a Lack of Monitoring
Patients at substance abuse centers are vulnerable due to increased medical needs, owed to the impact of drug withdrawal. When the treatment centers do not provide the care and monitoring they need, the results can be disastrous to patients and their families.
Deaths at substance abuse clinics may occur for a variety of reasons, including failure to:
- monitor health issues and deliver needed medical care
- search returning patients for drugs or paraphernalia
- secure the facility properly, resulting in non-patients gaining access to the facility
- monitor patients who suffer from suicidal ideation
- provide support as patients move to aftercare
- observe signs of mental distress
If a loved one passed away during or soon after treatment in a substance abuse center, the facility may be held liable if a lack of proper monitoring caused the death.
Contact a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today
Substance abuse treatment centers have a legal obligation to provide a specific level of care. When they fail to meet this obligation, they may be held liable for the loss of income, funeral costs, and pain and suffering of the patient and their family.
If you suspect a lack of monitoring at a substance abuse treatment center that has resulted in the death of a loved one, Pintas & Mullins can help. Our legal team can review your case and recommend legal steps. Pursuing a claim can reduce the financial impact of your loved one’s death and could prevent another family from suffering the same fate.
Call Pintas & Mullins today at (888) 808-5977 to discuss your situation.