Med Mal Trial Opens Over Death of Florida Man Treated With Powerful Painkiller

Posted by Arlin Crisco on Aug 31, 2023 1:42:42 PM


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West Palm Beach, FL— Attorneys Wednesday debated whether a Florida man who suffered an ultimately fatal respiratory collapse while being treated with powerful pain medication had been appropriately monitored, as trial opened against his treating physician.  Hamby v. Glauser, et al., 2021-CA-002579.

Joshua Hamby, 54, was admitted to a South Florida hospital in May 2020 with symptoms of pancreatitis. Across roughly 28 hours, he received multiple doses of Dilaudid, an opioid pain medication significantly more powerful than morphine. He subsequently suffered a catastrophic respiratory collapse and died roughly one week later. 

Hamby’s family contends his treating physician, Dr. Joshua Glauser, failed to take an appropriate medical history of Hamby regarding potential risk factors related to the drug and failed to place Hamby on monitors that would have promptly alerted staff of his respiratory depression. 

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During Wednesday’s openings, the Hamby family’s attorney, Daniel Harwin, of Freedland Harwin Valori Gander, walked jurors through a timeline of Hamby’s care under Glauser. Harwin said Hamby suffered from sleep apnea, which affected his breathing, and that FDA protocol advised that patients who received Dilaudid be closely monitored.

However, Harwin said Glauser failed to ask Hamby whether he had sleep apnea and did not order appropriate telemetry or pulse-oximetry monitoring, despite the fact that Hamby received 27 milligrams of Dilaudid in the 28 hours leading up to his collapse. 

“Had a telemetry monitor and a pulse oximetry been hooked up to Josh Hamby, his life would have been saved,” Harwin said. “And his seven-year-old son and his wife would not have suffered this unspeakable loss.”

But the defense contends Glauser acted appropriately in treating Hamby. During Wednesday’s openings, Hall Booth Smith’s Michael Burt told jurors that Glauser had taken an appropriate medical history, including asking about any cardiac or other respiratory issues. And he told jurors that Hamby was placed on a floor in which nurses regularly checked him, including in the first 30 minutes after each dose of Dilaudid, when the drug’s impact was strongest.

“This patient wasn’t taken out to the street and left. He was put on a floor where he would be monitored by the nursing staff,” Burt said. “And, there are nursing notes that reflect when the pain medicine was given and when the nurse came in to make that check.”

Trial is expected to run into late next week. The hospital at which Hamby was treated is not a defendant at trial. 

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Topics: Medical Malpractice, Florida, Hamby v. Glauser, et al.