County, hospital sued over teen’s overdose death

Staff at Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center and the Santa Fe County youth detention facility failed to properly care for a 17-year-old who died of a heroin overdose while in county custody, claims a lawsuit filed on behalf of her estate.  The state District Court complaint includes details about the death of Desiree Gonzales not included in previous accounts of what happened the night she died and accuses county employees of attempted cover-ups.

“Her cries for help in the form of altered mental state, chest pain, anxiety, gasping for air, gurgling noises during breathing and completely stopping breathing were all ignored,” wrote attorneys Lee Hunt and Santiago Juarez…

The teen died in the early morning hours May 8 at the hospital, where she was taken after a guard found her unresponsive at the Santa Fe County youth detention center on Airport Road, the sheriff’s office has said. Hours earlier, Gonzales had been discharged from the hospital following a naloxone treatment for a heroin overdose, the sheriff’s spokesman reported. The drug, often known by the name Narcan, is used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose…

The lawsuit states that emergency responders gave the girl a Narcan dose at 7:45 p.m. before taking her to the hospital, where she was admitted at 8:40 p.m. The suit says the doctor discharged her at 9:52 p.m., which, the lawyers argue, endangered the teen…

The lawyers also stated that the youth detention center didn’t have the resources to treat Gonzales, including any supply of Narcan…

Why do so may overdoses happen so soon after treatment with naloxone?  Is this antidote helping or hurting people who suffer from addiction?

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