Mayo malpractice lawsuit alleges patient brain injury after hospital gave too much medication

A Shoreview, Minnesota, man says that Mayo employees administered him an overdose of a sedative, causing a brain injury. Mayo Clinic denies his claims.

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ROCHESTER — A lawsuit filed in Olmsted County District Court this month alleges medical personnel from Mayo Clinic Hospital-Saint Marys inadvertently overdosed a patient with a sedative, causing a brain injury.

The plaintiff, Jesse McDonough, of Shoreview, Minnesota, alleges that he was a patient at Mayo Clinic in January 2021 suffering from shortness of breath, alcohol withdrawal disorder and abnormally low sodium in his blood. During his treatment at the hospital, McDonough received an overdose of the drug lorazepam, giving him a brain injury.

Mayo Clinic denied that his injuries were caused by the hospital or that he was administered an overdose.

"Patient care is a priority at Mayo Clinic, and we take these responsibilities seriously," Mayo Clinic Communications Manager Ginger Plumbo wrote in an email to the Rochester Post Bulletin. "We are investigating the claims in this situation, and in the interim, we will not comment further."

Jeffrey Montpetit, of Minneapolis, who is representing McDonough in the lawsuit, did not respond to a request for comment before publication.


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McDonough alleges that multiple Mayo Clinic employees were negligent in their treatment of him and departed from the ordinary standard medical care given by medical professionals under the same circumstances.

According to McDonough's court filing, he arrived at Mayo Clinic Jan. 8, 2021, suffering from a variety of ailments but had otherwise normal vital signs. Around two hours after his arrival, Mayo staff became concerned about electrolyte derangement associated with his alcohol withdrawal.

McDonough alleges that the next morning he was administered multiple doses of lorazepam in order to reduce agitation from his alcohol withdrawal.

"Lorazepam is used to treat anxiety disorders. It is also used for short-term relief of the symptoms of anxiety or anxiety caused by depression. Lorazepam is a benzodiazepine that works in the brain to relieve symptoms of anxiety. Benzodiazepines are central nervous system (CNS) depressants, which are medicines that slow down the nervous system," according to the Mayo Clinic .

Following that administration of lorazepam, McDonough collapsed and suffered respiratory failure causing a series of medical interventions including the placement of a stomach tube, prolonged sedation and a tracheostomy, a hole cut into the windpipe so a tube can be inserted to assist in breathing, according to his court filing.

In his filing, he alleges that multiple Mayo employees wrote in his medical records that his injuries, including his brain injury, were the cause of inadvertent lorazepam or benzodiazepine overdose following his alcohol withdrawal.

"Plaintiff's injuries are permanent and severe, and he is unlikely to regain any of the function lost due to his injuries," reads part of McDonough's court filing. He alleges that he has required assistance from others following his discharge from Mayo Clinic.

The Mayo Clinic has denied that McDonough was administered an overdose of medication while a patient at the hospital.


"The care provided by Plaintiff’s Mayo-employed providers was reasonable and appropriate, complied with accepted standards of care in all respects, and was not the cause of Plaintiff’s alleged injuries," reads part of the Mayo Clinic's court filing.

McDonough is seeking a judgment in excess of $50,000 along with court costs.

Mayo Clinic is seeking a trial by jury but has asked the court to dismiss the case and award the hospital court costs.

Mark Wasson has been a public safety reporter with Post Bulletin since May 2022. Previously, he worked as a general assignment reporter in the southwest metro and as a public safety reporter in Willmar, Minn. Readers can reach Mark at
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