Man Dies After Receiving Overdose of Drug in Hospital

Our Maryland Medication Error Attorneys have been reading about the tragic incident that happen in Maine recently, after a local man went to the emergency room with symptoms of anaphylaxis, and was given an overdose of the drug epinephrine—causing his wrongful death.

After suffering an allergic reaction from eating seafood that included facial swelling and thickening of the tongue, Timothy Harvey, 51, went to the Mayo Regional Hospital emergency room for treatment. Harvey was reportedly given 0.3 milligrams of epinephrine, and reportedly showed good signs of improvement.

While Harvey was being observed by the hospital staff, he had another allergic attack, with some of the earlier symptoms. The staff reportedly gave him another dose of epinephrine, but accidentally administered an incorrect dosage of the drug, causing a medication error that was ten times the normal dose, 3 milligrams instead of 0.3 milligrams.

According to the FDA, Epinephrine is a high alert medication that could cause significant harm or patient injury when used in error. When Harvey started to experience chest pain and shortness of breath, the medical team discovered the mistake, and immediately contacted the poison control center to attempt to reverse the effects of the drug, but with no success. The Epinephrine overdose ultimately killed Harvey, despite the hospital staff’s many attempts to save his life.

The hospital took full responsibility for the human error and are reportedly taking part in the investigation to find out how the error could have occurred. They claimed that they had systems in place that should have prevented this medication mistake from happening, but those systems failed them in this circumstance. The hospital claims to have already put changes into place by replacing the large vials of epinephrine in the emergency rooms with EpiPens that are prefilled—to treat emergency allergic reactions with the correct dosage.

At Lebowitz and Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers, our attorneys are committed to making sure that medication error victims and their loved ones receive the personal injury compensation they deserve. If you or someone you love has been injured or died due to a hospital or pharmacy error in Washington D.C. or Maryland, contact us today to schedule your free consultation.

Man Dies of Overdose at Hospital,, June 11, 2010
Maine Hospital ‘Commended’ for Admitting Mistake in Patient’s Death, Fierce, June 15, 2010

Related Web Resources:

Institute for Safe Medication Practices, (ISMP)

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