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Man Sues SVTC Over Sister's Morphine Death
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
April 15, 2004

CHESAPEAKE, VIRGINIA--Jerry L. Costello has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against a Virginia institution and a staff physician alleging "gross carelessness and negligence" in the overdose death of his sister.

Patricia Ann Costello died on April 16, 2002 while a resident at Southeastern Virginia Training Center.

In the lawsuit, filed earlier this month in Chesapeake Circuit Court, her brother claims that she died after being given too much morphine. MacPherson-Smith was a staff member at SVTC and one of several doctors that treated Patricia.

"As a direct and proximate result of the overdose of morphine, and due to the neglect of SVTC and Dr. MacPherson-Smith in maintaining proper supervision of Patricia Costello's condition, Patricia Costello died," the suit alleges, adding that her death was the result of their "gross carelessness and negligence".

Costello's suit asks for $3.5 million in compensatory damages, in part to cover her medical and funeral expenses.

SVTC is a 200-bed facility housing people with mental retardation, and is operated by the State Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse services.

Neither the state nor MacPherson-Smith gave any comment when contacted by the Associated Press.


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