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Dangerous and Defective Drugs If you put your trust in a pharmaceutical company and were hurt by their product, you deserve compensation for your suffering.
Wrong Medication Did you receive the wrong medication or incorrect prescription from a pharmacy? If you have suffered because of a medication error please call us for a free case review.
Wrong Dosage Common forms of medication error: incorrect dosage error. Order our free book to learn how to protect yourself and your family from wrong dosage errors.
Other Errors Order our free book, "How to Make Pharmacies Pay for your Injuries Caused by Medication Errors, to learn your rights in prescription error cases.
Kids Rx Errors Order a free copy of The Top 10 Tips to Protect Your Children Against Pharmacy Errors. If you have suffered a prescription error contact our firm today.
Pharmacy Malpractice If you have suffered an injury because a pharmacy dispensed the wrong medication or made an error with your prescription, you are able to file a claim for negligence or malpractice and receive the compensation you deserve.
Walgreens Pharmacy Error Claims There have been numerous claims brought against Walgreens for pharmacy errors or prescription errors. Order our free book to learn how to take action.
CVS Pharmacy Error Claims If you've been injured because of a CVS Pharmacy prescription error, call us for help with your lawsuit at 888-526-7616.
State Pharmacy Boards If you have been severely injured because of a medication error, contact board-certified attorneys immediately to investigate your case free of charge.
Drug & Pharmacy Error Prevention Filing a pharmacy error lawsuit is the only way to make pharmacies take accountability for mistakes. Call our board certified attorneys for a free case review.
State Pharmacy Laws State laws on pharmacy malpractice. Learn the pharmacy error Statute of Limitation laws that apply to your state. Call 877-342-2020 for a free consultation.

Nurse Who Gave Patient Wrong Medication Faces Lawsuit for Fatal Drug Error

David W. Hodges
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Partner at Kennedy Hodges LLP practicing pharmacy error, medical malpractice and personal injury law
Posted on Dec 25, 2011

A Miami hospital is facing a serious drug error lawsuit after a staff nurse gave an elderly man the wrong medication.

79-year-old Richard Smith was being treated for kidney disease at North Shore Medical Center in Miami. After he reported shortness of breath during a dialysis treatment, he was admitted to the ICU.

On July 30, 2010, Smith was prescribed a course of antacids to combat an upset stomach. When Smith’s son Marc arrived later that morning and found find him unconscious and hooked to a respirator, the nurse explained that Richard Smith had experienced a cardiac arrest.

The doctor explained to Marc Smith that Richard’s heart stopped after the nurse administered the wrong medication. Instead of an antacid, the nurse gave him pancuronium—a drug used during intubations to relax muscles.  A powerful paralytic, pancuronium is also used in high doses to administer lethal injections.

Thirty minutes after the error, Richard Smith was found unconscious with no pulse. The doctors were able to restart his heart, but the loss of oxygen left him brain dead, and he remained in a coma until his death a month later.

According to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, there are a number of safeguards in place to prevent these errors—and Smith’s nurse would have had to ignore them in order to make a fatal mistake.

The nurse had said that the mistake occurred because the antacid and the paralytic had similar packaging, and he grabbed the wrong one. Per regulations, nurses are required to read medication labels, scan the package for dosage instructions, and match the patient ID to the medication.  The nurse did not take any of these steps.

Although the hospital has removed pancuronium from nursing areas except the operating rooms, the nurse under investigation has not been suspended and is still working in the same unit where the error occurred.

Our condolences are extended to the Smith Family as they cope with the loss of their husband and father.

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