Family Sues Suburban Hospital After Grandmother Dies of Prescription Drug Overdose

A family is suing a suburban Chicago hospital and another Chicago-area doctor, alleging the doctors and medical staff fueled a drug addiction that ultimately ended a 56-year-old grandmother’s life. 

Nina Koehler filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Northwestern’s Delnor Hospital and her mother’s local doctor claiming they “not only failed to recognize and treat Linda Svanstrom’s prescription drug addiction but also fueled it by giving her large doses of opioid and prescription drugs. “ 

Linda Svanstrom suffered from chronic knee pain and weekly visited Delnor Hospital along with her local doctor at his St. Charles private practice, according to family. She died on Feb. 7, 2017 of a prescription drug overdose, leaving behind three children, including a disabled son, and two grandchildren. 

Family members said they asked medical personnel at the hospital to stop filling prescription for Svanstrom, but their please went “ignored.”

According to their complaint, phone records also showed she made 80 phone calls in a seven-month period to her primary care physician.

"My mom left us at age 56 because she trusted a medical system that is broken,” Koehler said in a statement. “You shouldn’t be allowed to walk into a hospital multiple times a week and be given uncontrolled access to opioids and prescribed dangerous pain killers without any evidence of a medical emergency. I pleaded with the hospital to stop giving my mom drugs but they wouldn’t listen, and now she’s gone."

The family’s attorney said doctors and staff missed a documented pattern of addiction. 

“There has to be check and balances to giving dangerous drugs,” Mark McNabola said. 

His comments were echoed by Sen. Dick Durbin, who announced legislation Friday aimed at reducing the over-prescribing of opioids.

“We face the worst drug epidemic in American history,” Durbin said. “That’s quite a statement but it’s true and we know it because this opioid epidemic touches every single community in our state.” 

A spokesman for Northwestern said the hospital does not comment on pending litigation. Her local physician could not immediately be reached for comment.

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