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Tennessee Malpractice Lawsuit After Detective Dies From Overdose

Medical malpractice is particularly devastating when it happens – as it so often does – while recovering from a disastrous event. People are in the hospital or seeing a medical professional for a reason, and are often overcoming an illness or a physical injury when medical malpractice occurs. The impact of a medical mistake at this point in the recovery process can be hard to deal with, both for the patient and for his or her loved ones. Progress was being made and the end of the long road to recovery seemed to be in sight.

This is the case in Tennessee, where a detective was at the wrong end of a medical mistake after a horrific car crash. After surviving the accident, he died because of an error in his pain medication.

The Car Crash

Last January, Mike Starrett, a detective for the Jacksboro Police Department, just north of Knoxville, Tennessee, responded to a fatal car accident. While in his unmarked cruiser, detective Starrett was hit head-on by another vehicle, resulting in massive injuries, including broken bones throughout his body. The driver of the vehicle that hit detective Starrett was cited for numerous traffic violations.

Over the course of the next week in the hospital, detective Starrett underwent numerous surgeries at the University of Tennessee Medical Center. Despite the extent and seriousness of his injuries, he was making progress in his recovery. However, on January 30th, he suddenly died. Starrett’s widow was informed that the cause of death was a blood clot.

An autopsy and a toxicology test, however, found that detective Starrett had “lethal levels of narcotic pain medication” in his system when he died. Instead of a blood clot being the cause of his death, it was oxycodone intoxication, caused by a pain medication overdose. A subsequent test confirmed this result, and law enforcement investigated whether it was an intentional act against the detective.

The investigation, however, found that no one outside of the hospital and the detective’s family had any contact with him during his recovery.

Because of the medical conduct that led to detective Starrett’s death and because no one else had any contact with him while he was in the hospital, other than the medical staff, Starrett’s widow filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the University of Tennessee Medical Center, alleging medical malpractice. She is suing for $7.5 million.

Medical Malpractice Attorneys in Baltimore

Events like these do not just happen for no reason. Medical malpractice problems are startlingly common across the country. When they happen to patients who are battling to recover from a horrendous injury like detective Starrett. Putting a significant setback in an already difficult recovery process can be especially wrenching to deal with.

The medical malpractice attorneys at the law office of Gilman & Bedigian understand how to fight for your interests both in and out of court. If you or a loved one has been hurt by a medical mistake, contact our Baltimore and Washington D.C. law offices at (800) 529-6162 or by contacting us online.

About the Author

Briggs Bedigian
Briggs Bedigian

H. Briggs Bedigian (“Briggs”) is a founding partner of Gilman & Bedigian, LLC.  Prior to forming Gilman & Bedigian, LLC, Briggs was a partner at Wais, Vogelstein and Bedigian, LLC, where he was the head of the firm’s litigation practice.  Briggs’ legal practice is focused on representing clients involved in medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. 


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