A New Mexico medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit was filed in early November 2015 on behalf of the estate of a Santa Fe, New Mexico woman who died on June 29, 2015 in a Denver, Colorado hospital, where she had been transferred to from a local New Mexico hospital on June 25, 2015 after receiving ten times the ordered dose of a drug while in the emergency room of the New Mexico hospital.
The woman had gone to the emergency room complaining of a swollen upper lip. The emergency room physician ordered that she be administered 0.3 milligrams of epinephrine, subcutaneously. Instead, the emergency room nurse, who is named as a defendant along with the hospital in the New Mexico medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit, administered 3 milligrams of epinephrine, via IV push.
According to the New Mexico medical malpractice lawsuit filed by the administrator of the woman’s estate, the woman immediately experienced problems with breathing and subsequently suffered respiratory and cardiac arrest. Despite resuscitation efforts, the woman was unable to be effectively resuscitated and was transferred to the Denver hospital where she died.
The plaintiff alleges in the New Mexico medical malpractice lawsuit that the defendant nurse asked to speak privately with the emergency room physician who had ordered the epinephrine, shortly after the woman suffered cardiac arrest. According to the plaintiff’s lawsuit, the physician told the defendant nurse that the medical records for the woman should reflect exactly what had happened. The defendant nurse allegedly then wrote in the patient’s electronic medical records that she used IV push instead of the subcutaneous route because the ordering physician had verbally modified his earlier order for subcutaneous administration of the epinephrine to IV push.
The plaintiff seeks both compensatory and punitive damages from the defendant nurse and the defendant hospital. The plaintiff’s New Mexico medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit does not name the emergency room physician as a defendant.
Medication errors that occur in hospitals may cause severe injuries, or even death. What is most sad about hospital drug mistakes is that most of the errors are avoidable and the patient/victim did not have to suffer a painful, permanent or fatal injury as a result.
With the introduction of electronic medical records to replace paper documentation, it was touted that medication errors in hospitals would all but be eliminated because many medication mistakes were often due to poor handwriting or difficulty in reading and interpreting what was written on a prescription pad or in a written hospital medication order. However, electronic medical records are not a panacea for all medication errors because a fallible human being still has to make the correct determination with regard to medications administered to patients (including dosing decisions), a human has to make the entry in the electronic medical record as to medication orders, and a human being is expected to correctly and timely carry out those orders.
While computer programs may catch an erroneous medication order before the patient is administered a harmful drug, if the order appears to the computer program to be within legitimate prescribing limits, the patient may still suffer substantial harm if the wrong medication, or the wrong dosage, is administered at the wrong time (computer programs are most effective at preventing the administration of contra-indicated medications that may interfere with, or change the efficacy of, other medications already being administered, but only if all medications the patient receives (or is ordered to receive) are correctly entered into the patient’s medical profile and medical records).
If you or a family member were injured (or worse) due to hospital medical negligence that occurred in New Mexico or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find a New Mexico medical malpractice lawyer, or a medical malpractice lawyer in your state, who may investigate your hospital negligence claim for you and represent you in a hospital medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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