The family of a Utah County woman who died while living at an Orem assisted living center has filed a lawsuit claiming that she died after mistakenly being given chemotherapy drugs.
Gloria Dunn, 75, was living at the Bel Aire Assisted Living Center, 436 E. 700 North in Orem, in the summer of 2018 according to a press release from the family’s lawyer Ricky Shelton.
In July 2018, Dunn was prescribed metolazone — a diuretic medication. When the prescription was filled by Select Pharmacy in Murray, it was mistakenly filled as methotrexate, a chemotherapy medication, according to the lawsuit. Methotrexate is described as a medication designed to eradicate cancer cells.
Bel Aire Assisted Living administered the methotrexate to Dunn, despite her not having cancer, the lawsuit states.
According to the lawsuit, Dunn was given the medications “over and over” again, causing “severe and painful damage to Gloria for several weeks.”
Dunn’s lawyers said that as she became sicker, she met with two doctors and with Brighton Home Health.
“Despite having a responsibility to verify her medication, they did not realize that Bel Aire Assisted Living was not supposed to be administering methotrexate to Gloria,” the lawsuit states.
Dunn died on Aug 27, 2018.
The lawsuit, filed by Diana Dunn and Maria Dunn, names Select Pharmacy in Murray, the Bel Aire Assisted Living center in Orem, Brighton Home Health in Salt Lake County, the University of Utah College of Pharmacy, Revere Health in Provo and six health care individuals as defendants in the suit.
According to the news release, there have been 100 published incidents, including 25 deaths where methotrexate was mistakenly administered to patients under the supervision of health care professionals .
“These dangerous mistakes keep occurring despite the fact that for more than 15 years the Institute for Safe Medication Practices has designated methotrexate as a ‘high-alert medication’ that healthcare professionals need to give extra precaution to,” the press release states.
According to its website, the Bel Aire Assisted Living is a family-owned facility that offers Type I-level care.
Bel Aire Assisted Living declined to comment on the active lawsuit Thursday.
Dunn owned Little Scholar Preschool in American Fork where she taught for more than two decades, according to her family’s lawyers. She also worked at Dan Peterson School in American Fork. She had six children, 13 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.