Ten years ago, Lenore Alexander’s 11-year-old daughter, Leah Coufal, underwent elective surgery to correct pectus carinatum at a prestigious Southern California hospital. Though the surgery went well, Lenore awoke at 2 a.m. on the second post-operative night to find Leah “dead in bed,” a victim of undetected respiratory arrest, caused by the narcotics that were intended to ease her pain.
Lewis Blackman, a healthy, gifted 15-year-old, underwent elective surgery at MUSC. In one of the state’s most modern hospitals, he bled to death over 30 hours while those caring for him missed signs that he was in grave peril.
John LaChance, served in the United States Navy, underwent his second routine rotator cuff repair surgery. John also had a condition called sleep apnea, which when mixed with opioids, puts a patient at a much higher risk of respiratory depression. This condition was dismissed by all attending medical staff.
Malinda is a certified case manager at a hospital in Oklahoma City. In 2006, her father tragically died of opioid-induced respiratory depression after a routine surgery. She share her experience and the impact that it has had on her and her family.