Administering pain medication to a hospitalized patient requires close monitoring. Hospital personnel in Rhode Island and elsewhere are required to keep meticulous records regarding how often and how much medication is given to a patient -- especially when narcotics such as morphine are prescribed. It is an apparent failure to monitor an out-of-state patient's medication levels that her widower says led to her death. He recently filed a medical malpractice suit, claiming hospital negligence as a result.
In Oct. 2011, the woman was admitted to the hospital with intense back pain that she likened to the pain of a kidney stone. The examining physician expected she would be discharged the next day. However, at around 6 p.m. that next evening, her pain remained, and she was also suffering from dizziness and nausea.