Medication Mix-Up Leads to Patient's Death

The family of a deceased Florida man is suing the hospital that they claim killed their dad, husband, and brother. Richard Smith, 79, was admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) at the North Shore Medical Center in Miami after experiencing shortness of breath. Smith was on dialysis, as he had serious kidney problems. The day after being admitted, Smith experienced an upset stomach and was prescribed an antacid. Instead of the antacid, the nurse accidentally administered the drug pancuronium, a paralytic, according to reports. Smith went into cardiac arrest and although he was able to be revived, he was braindead for one month before he died.

According to ABC News, the drug pancuronium is used as a muscle relaxer and as a paralytic. In high doses, pancuronium is used for lethal injections. The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration determined that if all of the correct safeguards were in place at the hospital, the nurse would have had to go out of the way to ignore all of the prescription drug protocols. It was determined that the nurse “failed to look and read what medication he was taking … failed to scan to determine the right count for the medication, failed to match the patient’s ID with the scanned medication,” reports say. 

Uvo Ologboride, the nurse who gave Smith the wrong medication, was retrained and fined, but the family is frustrated that the nurse is still employed in the same unit as before. Marc Smith, the son of the victim, is an EMT and remarked that it is considered negligence and murder if he or one of his colleagues administers the wrong medication. In a news article, the family lawyer for the Smiths stated that “This is the worst case of medical neglect I have ever seen.” The hospital has since removed pancuronium from everywhere except operating rooms where it will be controlled by anesthesiologists. 

Sadly, it is not completely uncommon for doctors and nurses to prescribe and administer the incorrect medication to patients. This kind of medical neglect and medical malpractice poses serious risks to patients and, if unreported, puts future patients in considerable danger.

If you believe that you or a loved one may have been the victim of a doctor’s medical negligence, neglect, or malpractice, contact a medical malpractice attorney to see if you could possibly be entitled to compensation for your pain, medical bills, and lost wages. Contact us today for a free, no-risk case evaluation.

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