Civil lawsuit, criminal charges facing former nursing home employees accused in resident's morphine death

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The family of an Ohio nursing home resident who died after an inadvertent morphine dose has filed suit against three former facility employees who are accused of botching his care and possibly trying to cover their errors, according to local reports.

The employees, who worked at Greenbriar Healthcare Center in Boardman, OH, are accused of giving William Wolfe, 70, extended release morphine that had not been prescribed. He was found unresponsive the next morning and pronounced dead at the hospital. The incident occured in 2015. Calls to Greenbriar were not returned by press time.

County prosecutors say there are signs that two of the employees altered documents in the days after the death, which led to their being hit with tampering charges.

Brenda Lamancusa, 40, was charged with one count of patient abuse. Johonna Hull, 28, and Beth Bowman, 51, were charged with patient abuse and with tampering with records. All charges are first-degree misdemeanors.

“Evidence indicated, and the autopsy showed, that a gentleman ... was mistakenly given the wrong medication ... The charges are largely over not only the mistake in providing him that medication, but probably even more importantly, the lack of action that was taken by the staff at Greenbriar,” Michael McBride, an assistant Mahoning County prosecutor, said to station WKBN. His office filed the state complaints earlier in June, while the family has filed a civil lawsuit.

Hull and Lamancusa are scheduled for hearings in late July.