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Could emergency room mistakes have contributed to overdose death?

Illegal drugs are always dangerous and highly volatile, as the origin and quality of substances is often unknown. As a result, thousands of people experience adverse reactions and overdoses every year in New York and across the country. That is why it is the responsibility of emergency responders and physicians to approach every drug overdose case with care to ensure that the victim is properly monitored for complications and/or changes in their condition. Tragically, one teenage girl recently died of a drug overdose after supposedly receiving medical attention, raising serious concerns over possible medical errors.

According to a representative for the Albuquerque, New Mexico, hospital that treated the 17-year-old heroin overdose victim, it's up to individual doctors to decide if and when to discharge patients. The facility itself apparently does not have established policies in place for addressing overdose scenarios.

In the incident in question, the teenage overdose victim was arrested and taken from the hospital to an Albuquerque juvenile detention facility, where she was later found to be unconscious. The girl died after being taken to the hospital yet again. According to law enforcement officers, the victim may have already been in medical distress at the time of her arrest. And because the girl’s overdose was one of three to occur in the same region within a short amount of time, authorities are investigating whether the drugs may have been laced.

The actions of the jail guards are also under investigation, and the Medical Examiner’s Office is also conducting its own inquiry into the girl’s death. Given that she was reportedly released from the hospital less than two hours after being admitted, the child’s father suspects that emergency room mistakes contributed to his daughter’s medical deterioration.

Source: koat.com, “Girl who died of overdose should never have been released from hospital, father says,” Alana Grimstad, May 12, 2014

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