Woman sues Pratt hospital in overdose case

January 25, 1996|By Elaine Tassy | Elaine Tassy,SUN STAFF

A Montgomery County woman has filed suit against Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital, alleging that negligence by the Towson psychiatric hospital and one of its doctors left her daughter in a vegetative coma from a heroin overdose.

Martha Cacciamani said in the lawsuit that her daughter, Susan Cacciamani, was admitted to Sheppard Pratt in July 1994 for heroin addiction, depression and a personality disorder. Although the patient tested positive for opiates days later, the suit alleges, the hospital allowed her to take outside day trips and receive unsupervised visits.

After an Aug. 3 visit from her boyfriend, Miss Cacciamani was found in her bathroom with no pulse from a heroin overdose, according to court documents. She was taken to Greater Baltimore Medical Center, where a "persistent vegetative coma" was diagnosed, and since Oct. 4, 1994, has been in a nursing home, says the lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Baltimore County Circuit Court.

Mrs. Cacciamani contends that Sheppard Pratt Health Systems Inc. and Dr. Richard Lowenstein breached acceptable standards of care, and that because of their failure to provide adequate care and supervision, her daughter will be bedridden and require a lifetime of nursing care. The damages sought were not specified.

Daniel J. Moore, an attorney representing Sheppard Pratt, said he could not comment because he had not seen the complaint.

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