MORGANTOWN – A Keyser woman is suing three physicians and West Virginia University Hospitals, Inc., after she claims they are responsible for her husband's death.

Drs. Joy E. Cousins, Tamer Gaber and James Abel; West Virginia University Board of Governors; West Virginia University Medical Corporation; and Potomac Valley Hospital were also named as defendants in the suit.

On June 8, 2009, Joseph Connolly was admitted to the emergency department at Potomac Valley Hospital with a history of attempted overdose from a combination of Xanax, Ambien and alcohol, according to a complaint filed in Monongalia Circuit Court.

Leslie Connolly claims during his admission it was incorrectly assumed by Cousins that Mr. Connolly had an active prescription for methadone at a dosage of 50mp twice daily, but that this assumption was directly contradicted by lab work done when Mr. Connolly was first admitted.

Later in the day, Cousins ordered Mr. Connolly be given 40mg of methadone and the following day he was transferred from Potomac Valley Hospital to Chestnut Ridge Hospital, which is part of West Virginia University Hospitals, Inc., according to the suit.

Mrs. Connolly claims Gaber ordered 50mg of methadone to be given to Mr. Connolly, which was administered at 1 p.m.

At 8:51 p.m. on June 9, 2009, a nurse documented that Mr. Connolly was too sleepy to sit up and eat dinner and that the evening medications were not administered "'due to inability to stay awake,'" according to the suit.

Mrs. Connolly claims the following day a nurse discovered Mr. Connolly had suffered respiratory and cardiac arrest and had been unresponsive for an undetermined period of time. Mr. Connolly never regained consciousness and died on June 13, 2009.

An autopsy determined that Mr. Connolly's cause of death was anoxic encephalopathy due to methadone intoxication, according to the suit.

Mrs. Connolly claims the defendants were negligent in prescribing methadone without adequate justification and by doing so, caused or contributed to the overdose of methadone that caused Mr. Connolly's respiratory and cardiac arrest.

Mrs. Connolly is seeking compensatory and punitive damages for Mr. Connolly's wrongful death. She is being represented by Dino S. Colombo and Brent P. Copenhaver.

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