Beebe and O'Neil

Hospital admits responsibility after mistake kills patient

Cases involving hospital errors in the U.S. can be important to Connecticut residents because it is relatively new for hospitals to openly disclose errors, and the results of mistakes may be helpful to others who have also suffered from issues like a misdiagnosis or wrong-site surgery. In 2013, the Journal of Patient Safety reported that deaths due to preventable hospital errors could vary between 210,000 to 400,000 people every year.

In this case, a 65-year-old woman died in Oregon after an alleged drug mix-up resulted in the administration of a paralyzing agent instead of an anti-seizure medication. According to news sources, the woman had questions about the required dosage for her medication after recently having brain surgery, and doctors reportedly decided that the woman needed a medication called fosphenytoin. She was given rocuronium instead, which is normally used in surgeries. The woman went into cardiac arrest and stopped breathing. She was placed on life support but was later removed from it after suffering irreversible brain damage.

The hospital is said to be investigating the matter to determine how the medication error occurred. The organization is analyzing everything about the medication process, which includes ordering medication from a manufacturer, pharmacy mixing, labeling and packaging. The hospital is also investigating how the drug was brought to the nurses and given to the patient. Three employees have been put on paid leave following the incident.

While nurses and doctors do not intend to cause harm, mistakes are made more often than not. Injuries suffered due to medical malpractice may lead to a worsening condition or costly procedures to fix a hospital staff's mistake. Those in such a situation may benefit by seeking out the legal advice of an attorney.

Source: CBS News, "Hospital medication error kills patient in Oregon", December 04, 2014

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