$1 Million Settlement in Medication Error Death
2010 Medical Malpractice Trial Report
Medication error: 86-year-old woman dies as result of Digoxin overdose
The plaintiff suffered a premature and preventable death on 10/14/07, from complications directly related to Digoxin overdose at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital (SRH). At the time of the medication error, the plaintiff was 86 years old and had a medical history that included acute on chronic renal failure, anemia, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, mitral valve replacement, and atrial fibrillation.
On 8/26/07, the plaintiff presented to the MGH Emergency Department with right lower rib pain with sudden onset. At the time, the plaintiff was on numerous medications including Digoxin, a heart medication. The following day, 8/27/07, the plaintiff was transferred to SRH for medical monitoring and comprehensive therapies to improve her function prior to returning to home. On the paperwork sent between the two facilities, the defendant physician incorrectly wrote that the plaintiff was to receive .625 mg of Digoxin, rather than the correct amount of .0625 mg., Over the course of the next five days, the plaintiff received 10 times the safe amount of Digoxin. She also started to exhibit signs and symptoms of Digoxin toxicity, including nausea and lethargy. The defendant nurses also failed to recognize these signs and take the appropriate action.
In addition, when the defendant pharmacists attempted to enter the Digoxin order, a warning screen appeared. However, the defendant pharmacists overrode the warning screen and continued to enter the unsafe dose of Digoxin., By the fifth day of her rehabilitation admission, the plaintiff had elevated potassium levels and prolonged drops in her heart rate. After a CODE was called, it was discovered that the plaintiff’s Digoxin level was 27.5 (normal range is 0.9 to 2.0). On 10/14/07, six weeks after the medication error, the plaintiff died leaving two adult children.
Prior to the trial, the parties settled the case for One Million Dollars ($1,000,000.00).
Lubin & Meyer attorneys represented the plaintiff in this lawsuit.
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