Family sues South Holland nursing home over fatal morphine overdose

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SOUTH HOLLAND, Ill. -- A South Holland nursing home is being sued by the family of an elderly woman whose death was ruled a homicide caused by improper medication.

The family of 98-year-old Dorothy Byrd is frustrated that a year later, the police investigation hasn’t resulted in any criminal charges.

Byrd’s daughter Sandra Peterson filed the suit in Cook County Circuit Court, naming Holland House and a nurse as defendants.

The medical examiner ruled Byrd died from toxic levels of the painkillers morphine and hydrocodone.  Morphine had not been prescribed for Byrd.

The nurse, whose license had expired, had the key to the drug cabinet.

Six residents were hospitalized last February.  A total of three died.

The attorney for Villa Healthcare, which runs the facility, did not return WGN’s call requesting a comment on the lawsuit.