New Life Lodge, Tennessee’s largest drug rehabilitation center, is under fire for the deaths of two patients at its facility within a few months of each other in 2010. Lindsey Poteet, a 29-year-old patient, died on September 1, 2010, the day the facility stated that she would complete her rehab program. She showed pneumonia-like symptoms, and staff placed her in a van to drive her to the hospital. She stopped breathing and died the next day. Patrick Bryant died six weeks earlier, on his 20th birthday, when staff found him after four hours of being unresponsive. His cause of death was hypoxic brain injury. The parents of these patients filed wrongful death suits against the rehab center and its former lead physician, Dr. Jonathan Butler.
Several former patients and family members report that overmedication is a problem at the facility. One patient reports being rushed to the emergency room twice during her stay because of overmedication. Bryant’s mother believes that overmedication led to her son’s death, who was prescribed antihistamines even though he had an allergy to other antihistamines. In addition, the doctor prescribed him Phenobarbital, phenergan and suboxone, and the lawsuit states that Bryant had been vomiting, was over-sedated and had breathing problems before he died, without being supervised regularly.
Poteet’s mother stated that the center never explained how her daughter’s condition worsened so quickly before sending her to the hospital. In addition, the hospital that they chose was 30 miles away, instead of a facility that was 8 miles away.
The facility continues to state that it handled the situations appropriately, though the Department of Children Services told the facility the same year that they could not admit any additional patients due to problems with understaffing.
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