Safety of Electronic Medical Records Questioned After Pharmacy Error Leads to Death of Infant

A recent Chicago Tribune article, that our Baltimore pharmacy misfill injury attorneys have been following, looks closely at electronic medical record safety, after a tragic medication error occurred, stemming from a computer mistake made at the Chicago-area Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, that caused the death of a newborn infant.

According to the article, Genesis Burkett, an infant born 16-weeks premature, was given a fatal overdose of sodium chloride last year, receiving over 60 times the dosage ordered by the physician. The hospital pharmacy error was reportedly made after a technician from the hospital pharmacy misread and inaccurately typed the doctor’s handwritten prescription orders into a hospital computer—a common source of pharmacy misfills and errors, as attorneys have discussed recently in a Baltimore pharmacy error injury blog.

The data entry mistake then caused a pharmacy misfill, as the automated machine prepared an intravenous solution containing a lethal overdose of sodium chloride that caused the infant’s heart to stop. Advocate Health Care’s chief medical officer, Dr. Lee Sacks stated that the pharmacy error could have been prevented by the automated alerts on the IV compounding machine, but at the time that the customized bag was prepared for the infant, the alerts were not activated and connected to the main pharmacy information systems at the hospital. The family’s attorney reportedly blamed the pharmacy error and wrongful death on a mislabeled IV bag.

After the medication error led to the infant’s tragic death, Advocate has since added electronic alerts to the IV compounders and initiated other medication safety measures to prevent this kind of pharmacy error from happening in the future.

In Talbot County, Wicomico County, and Washington County, Maryland, contact our attorneys today for a free consultation about your pharmacy error injury rights.

Baby’s death spotlights safety risks linked to computerized systems, Chicago Tribune, June 27, 2011
EMR Safety In Spotlight After Baby’s Death, Information Week, June 30, 2011

Related Web Resources:

20 Tips to Help Prevent Medical Errors in Children: Patient Fact Sheet, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Medication Error Reports

Institute for Safe Medication Practices, (ISMP)

Related Blog Posts:

FDA Redesigns Pharmacy Packet Inserts to Avoid Medication Error Injury, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, May 9, 2011
CVS Pharmacy Error Leads to Amoxicillin Overdose in Child, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, May 6, 2011
Walgreens Pharmacy Misfill Leaves Toddler With Dangerous Drug, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, May 4, 2011
Study Finds Small Doses of Drugs From Syringes Could Cause Medication Error in Children, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, February 4, 2011

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