Medication Error Causes Death in Washington State Hospital

In recent news, our Baltimore, Maryland medication error attorneys have been following the story of a recent tragedy, resulting in the death of a patient who went to the hospital for outpatient shoulder surgery, and died shortly after, due to a medication error.

According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Gary William Clezie went to Yakima Regional Medical & Cardiac Center in February 2009, for a simple outpatient arthroscopic shoulder surgery. A few hours after the surgery, Clezie reportedly suffered from brain damage, as a result of an alleged medication error, and died two days later, when his family agreed to remove the construction worker from life support.

After the surgery, Clezie received Dilaudid for his pain, a potent opioid drug for pain management. Clezie was given a device that allowed him to medicate as needed, by self-administering the drug. The doctor reportedly ordered that Clezie have a blood oxygen level monitoring device, that would alert the nursing staff if the oxygen in his blood dipped below a specific level—in which case the staff would alert the doctor, remove drug device from Clezie, and make sure that he was given oxygen.

But according to the Post-Intelligencer, Clezie’s blood-oxygen monitoring device was not attached to him, so when his blood oxygen level plummeted below the doctor’s defined level, his doctor was not notified, he was not removed from the drug device, and he was not given oxygen. Clezie stopped breathing and suffered severe brain damage from the error that led the misadministration of the pain medication.

Clezie’s family reportedly filed a complaint with the Department of Health’s licensing division and the Department of Health determined, as a result of the medication error, that there were grounds for a corrective action against Yakima. The Post Intelligencer claims that Clezie is one of thousands who suffer harm, personal injury, or even wrongful death from medical care in Washington hospitals every year.

At Lebowitz and Mzhen LLC, our attorneys are committed to representing victims of medication mistakes and their loved ones, in Maryland and the Washington D.C. area. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Despite Law, Medical Errors Likely Go Unreported, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, September 27, 2010

Related Web Resources:

Institute of Medicine (IOM)

U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Medication Error Reports
Institute for Safe Medication Practices, (ISMP)

Contact Information