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Criminal charges in fatal medication error case

On Behalf of | Apr 13, 2019 | Hospital Negligence |

People in New York have good reason to be concerned about the possibility of being impacted by a medical error given that some studies show these errors to be the third leading cause of death in the United States. When health care professionals make mistakes that contribute to or cause serious injuries or death, it is reasonable for those affected to feel they have the right to seek compensation or justice.

According to a report by National Public Radio, a case against a nurse in Tennessee is raising a lot of concern and is finding many people coming forward asserting that health care professionals should not be punished for making mistakes. The case dates back to an event in December 2017 when the nurse administered the wrong medication to a patient, who died the following day. The drug that was given and the drug that was supposed to be given apparently had similar names.

Even a mix-up in drug names may theoretically be caught in time by appropriate systems and processes in place but the NPR report indicates that the nurse overrode an in-place safety mechanism when giving the patient the drug. The state health department did not revoke her nursing license which apparently contributed to a decision by the district attorney to charge the nurse with abuse and reckless homicide in the matter.

Supporters of the nurse are asserting that actions like this will make it less likely that medical professionals will voluntarily report errors for fear of criminal or other repercussions.