Nursing home sued for woman’s wrongful death due to morphine overdose


The daughter of an elderly woman who died from a morphine overdose last year has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against an Illinois nursing home where she lived.

Sandra Peterson filed the claim in Cook County Circuit Court on February 25 against Holland Home and nurse Talisha Lillard who was responsible for her mother’s care. Peterson alleged the South Holland nursing home was negligent in hiring Lillard.

Dorothy Byrd, 98, and five other residents were taken to Ingalls Memorial Hospital on February 3, 2015 after Lillard sedated them. According to the lawsuit, she sedated the seniors to reduce her workload as Holland Home was understaffed due to a blizzard. The nurse had allegedly been working alone with an expired license when she administered a fatal dose of morphine and hydrocodone to Byrd.

Byrd died the next day. Her autopsy showed she died from toxic levels of the drugs. While her death was ruled a homicide, the deaths of two other seniors who passed away around a month later were determined to be from natural causes. Lillard was fired but not charged with a crime.

The Byrd family’s attorney said she had been taking hydrocodone for back pain but had no prescription for morphine. The lawsuit is seeking damages in excess of $250,000.

Paul Greenberg is a Chicago wrongful death lawyer with Briskman Briskman & Greenberg. To learn more call 1.877.595.4878 or visit

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