Nurse is Convicted of Murder Charge for Dispensing Wrong Medication to Nursing Home Patient

Prescription and pharmacy errors are more common than many patients and consumers may think. The vast majority of prescription errors result in little or no consequence, and many mistakes are never even caught as a result of this. In some instances, a prescription error can be catastrophic. A recently published national news report discusses the decision by a Tennessee jury to convict a nurse of negligent homicide after the death of a patient was found to be the result of a medication mix-up that the nurse was responsible for.

According to the facts discussed in the recently published news report, the 37-year-old nurse was arrested and charged with negligent homicide after one of her patients died. The patient at issue was prescribed an anti-anxiety medication called Versed but was given a paralytic agent, vecuronium, instead. At trial, the prosecution argued that the nurse improperly used an automated medication dispensing system at the nursing home, opening up the medicine cabinet manually and taking the wrong drug for her patient.

After administering the incorrect medication to the patient, the nurse did not remain with the patient to notice any harmful interactions with the drug. When a nursing home employee eventually found the patient, she had died. Medical examiners determined that vecuronium intoxication led to the patient’s death. Based on this evidence, the jury decided to convict the nurse of the charges against her. The nurse has yet to be sentenced, but she could face up to 20 years in prison for the charge.

Automated medication dispensing systems at nursing homes and hospitals are designed to reduce the instances of medication mix-ups, and their use over the last few decades has improved patient safety. These systems may have also resulted in hospital employees letting their guard down when attempting to dispense medications safely. Sometimes the automatic dispensing system may not be working properly, but doctors and nurses have a duty to double-check that any drug dispensed by the system matches what was actually prescribed. Furthermore, hospital employees should remain with a patient for a reasonable period of time after administering medication to ensure that any adverse reactions that occur can be addressed before it’s too late.

Are Pharmacists Liable for Dispensing Errors?

When nurses, doctors, and other medical providers fail to uphold they duty owed to a patient, and a patient suffers injury or death as a result, the pharmacy employees may be subject to civil liability through a pharmacy error lawsuit. Additionally, the pharmacy itself can also be named as a defendant in these cases.

Have You Been Injured from a Prescription Error?

If you or a loved one suspects that a Maryland, Virginia, or Washington, D.C. medical provider has made a prescription error that resulted in a worsening of symptoms, injury, or death, you may have a claim for damages. The Maryland, DC, and Virginia medical malpractice attorneys with Lebowitz & Mzhen are experienced in representing pharmacy error clients, and we will fight for you to obtain the compensation that you deserve. Contact us to schedule a no-obligation consultation with one of our experienced lawyers to discuss your issue today. Call now at 800-654-1949 to schedule a free and confidential consultation with one of our malpractice attorneys today.

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