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Did one doctor's errors contribute to an elderly woman's death?

According to a woman living in College Park, Maryland officials have shown little interest in a potential medical malpractice case. The woman has concerns that a doctor's errors may have contributed to her mother's death. The woman also alleges that certain information was altered and potentially removed from her mother's medical records.

In a living will made out years prior, the woman's mother stated explicitly that she wanted to remain in her daughter's care if she ever became ill. Despite the written request and a medical evaluation by a court-appointed psychiatrist, a Maryland judge sent the woman's mother to a nursing home.

While residing at the nursing home, an attorney informed the woman that her mother had been prescribed Zoloft by the court appointed psychiatrist. However, there was no evidence that she suffered from depression. Furthermore, Zoloft is not intended to treat depression in patients with Alzheimer's.

The woman said that she was concerned that her mother could not tolerate Zoloft. When she asked the court to reconsider the doctor's diagnosis and seek out a second opinion, the presiding judge denied her petition. Following repeated pleas for reconsideration, the woman's mother died of cardiac arrest.

After the woman died, an investigation into the incident was conducted by the Maryland Department of Aging. However, they found no record that Zoloft was ever prescribed by the psychiatrist.

If the allegations are accurate and Zoloft contributed to her mother's death, the woman may be entitled to damages for negligence. If someone altered the medical records to cover up the incident, the penalties against the doctor could be even more severe.

Source: The Washington Examiner, "Judge ignores College Park woman's final wishes," Barbara Hollingsworth, Jan. 24, 2012

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