The mother of a Portland State University student is suing the college for $25 million, saying he died after taking Ambien the school prescribed him. She alleges that the school didn't properly consider his medical history or inform him about the risks associated with the pills.
Doctors at PSU's student health services allegedly prescribed Ambien to Ty Murray Irving in 2016. Irving should not have been prescribed the drug because he had a history of "weak lungs, respiratory issues, breathing problems, [and] sleep apnea," according to the lawsuit.
"Ty Murray Irving would not have died if he had not taken the hypnotic drugs prescribed to him by Portland State University," the lawsuit alleges. Portland State University has a pattern and practice of over-prescribing hypnotic drugs to its students without taking reasonable precautions."
PSU did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Irving's mother, Colette Murray, says her son was born premature and spent six months in the hospital as a baby. He had complications breathing for the rest of his life. The FDA-approved label for Ambien contains some warnings for patients with pre-existing lung problems, including sleep apnea.
She says her son used Ambien to help him sleep during finals week so that he could wake up early to study or write his term papers.
"He's just a wonderful, kind, caring, generous, sweet soul who just wanted to wake up on Saturday morning and finish off his papers," she says. "It's still so hard to believe that my son is gone. I just want to make sure the clinic is held accountable and that they change their practice."
Murray says she has talked to several PSU students who say the student health clinic frequently prescribes Ambien to students.
"I'm not trying to hurt PSU," Murray says. "I'm not trying to hurt anybody. I just feel like my son's life was taken because they didn't read the drug label."