Monday, November 8, 2010

$154G in medical error - Times Union

When Not Verifying the Patient is Deadly

When the article $154G in medical error came into my “in” box, I almost couldn’t believe this is still happening – even though I know it does. We don’t always get the whole story when it comes to news articles, so I rarely comment, but this seems pretty straight forward. The nurse gave the wrong patient a painkiller that ultimately killed him.

“a nurse gave him the painkiller around midnight. The drug was supposed to be given to Bruce's roommate, who was a cancer patient.”

The patient who received the deadly dose was hospitalized for evaluation. He “was suffering from end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and had only a year to live” Bruce had a DNR “The hospital staff followed Bruce's living will, which directed them not to intubate him.”

Teaching patient advocacy I look for stories that bring the problem of patient’s safety to light. This surely does it. But this family wasn’t on the evening news, they weren’t awarded millions of dollars and they probably aren’t going to make changes because of their horrible experience. What kind of changes can be made if there already is a policy of checking the patient’s name and birth date every time you treat him, but the policy wasn’t followed?

We aren’t supposed to “blame” the nurse. She may have been overworked, exhausted or incompetent. But a patient is still dead because of what she did. “at the trial, the hospital's lawyer argued that the hospital should not be held responsible for Bruce's death because of the do-not-intubate order. The hospital's counsel also argued that Bruce did not suffer because OxyContin is a medication used to give dying patients comfort care."

This is the sort of discussion that is brought up around a trial. I wonder what the family thinks of all this.

As angry as this may make anyone reading this, the fact is that a trained advocate may have kept this from happening just by making sure the nurse followed procedure. We can't measure how many times a family or friend, at the bedside saved a life. We just know it happens.


tinalimom said...

Wow, so strange how they attempt to rationalize major mistakes. Rather than recognizing thier flaws and taking steps to prevent future mishaps.

tinalimom said...

Wow, so strange how they attempt to rationalize major mistakes. Rather than recognizing thier flaws and taking steps to prevent future mishaps.

tinalimom said...

Wow, so strange how they attempt to rationalize major mistakes. Rather than recognizing thier flaws and taking steps to prevent future mishaps.

Maria said...

Sharing the same pain!!! My Mother was murdered by a hospital and forcefully discharged. They gave her morphine and zofran. We took her into the emergency room for a pain in her chest, shortness of breath, and she couldn't walk. They gave her morphine and zofran without explaining that these could be fatal and cause more shortness of breath. The oxygen was keeping her stable with the drugs they had given her. The doctor chose not to keep her over night when he found out her PC02 levels were twice as high as they were supposed to be. My Mother was suppose to be monitored for at least 24 hours by medical professionals after being given morphine. They were supposed to keep her in the intensive care unit and keep her on oxygen. They forcefully discharged my Mother. My Mom was beating the nurse on the her shoulders with her arms as the nurse tried to move her and screaming "No!, No!, No! Don't move me!", "I don't feel good!, "I still have the pain!" pointing to her chest. I moved towards the nurse to push her back off of my Mom, and glanced down and saw my Mother's foot twisted. I yelled "Her foots twisted!" I bent down and untwisted it. The nurse had her arms up and open, and her mouth was wide open. She asks if my Mother would like some soda and crackers. The nurse returns, she hands the soda to my Mom, and says "I'll put the crackers in your purse." Thats how much of a rush this nurse was to get us out of there. My Mom hands me the soda can and says "Here throw it away" I said "No" my Mom said "Why not?" I replied "Cause I'm gonna drink it" my Mom said "Okay" Then the nurse moved her to the wheelchair!! I was in shock.
My son was bringing the car to the entrance.
Three feet from the car my Mom started heaving and vomiting. From the bed to the car it was only minutes before my Mom lost consciousness. Clearly my son and I could see my Mom's health was getting worse and the nurse who is supposed to be a trained professional ignored the red flags of morphine overdose/allergic reactions, and respiratory depression, and heart attack. We were yelling at the nurse, "She's vomiting", "She's sick!" We were repeating this. The nurse went and got a vomit bag and some wipes. My Mother lost consciousness. She was dying!!! We kept telling the nurse, "Is this normal?!" "Look she's not responding!" We kept calling for her. My grown son kept at this nurse. The nurse said "Ya, she's sleeping it off." This was not right. Then when we took her back, the same nurse refused to go out to the car and reassess my Mother. I put my hands together and begged her for my Mom's life. She gave me a blank look. She was refusing to check my Mom. She turned from me and started to flirt with a security guard that came up behind her. This was a life or death conversation. She turned back to me and said "When I wheeled your Mother out, I got some bugs on me and I have a bugophobia" She was refusing to reassess my Mom. I started to beg her for a wheel chair. The nurse said "That's against hospital policy" I begged her all the way down a hallway. She said "let me ask the head nurse" She went through some double doors and came right back out and said "she said no" I begged "What am I supposed to do?!" The nurse said "Call 911" I replied in shock "Call 911!" She said "Ya, have the firefighters carry her in." I said "Have the firefighters carry her in?" she said "she'll wake up in a couple of hours." I left. My Mom never woke up. My Mom died in the car. The ambulance took her back to this same hospital. No doctor from this hospital wanted to sign the death certificate. My Mother lost her precious life.

bredon said...

A medical mal practice lawyer is a person who have the knowledge of medical laws and who have the desired knowledge through which he or she can help you out if you are a victim of medical negligence.
As it was happened with marai that she has lost her mother. There are many cases in which responsible persons do not pay full attention to the injured person or medical seeker then that medical carelessness sometime becomes very deadly and life threatening also