Arsula Samson, 80, was given ten times the amount of potassium chloride in a fatal hospital prescription error. The staff nurse pumped 50ml of the drug over half an hour, instead of the prescribed 50ml over 5 hours causing Samson to have a heart attack and die. The coroner concluded it was an accidental death with neglect as a contributing factor.
Ms. Samson's wrongful death appears to me to be much more than an accident. Instead, the evidence suggests it was much more of a systemic problem. The hospital was already being investigated over a series of similar fatal overdoses. Given the number of problems, it appears the staff was not properly trained. If they had been properly trained, Ms. Sampson may not have died this way.
The hospital claims that after the event the staff was retrained and warned about the dangers of potassium chloride. The hospital also stressed that now a second nurse would be required to witness medication being given. Why had these precautions not been implemented to begin with? In a hospital people's lives are at stake, As a Tampa Medication Error attorney I have represented family members that have been catastrophically injured by very similar drug overdoses by hospital nurses. Similar actions were taken after the event. Unfortunately, all too often I see hospitals take the reactive approach instead of the proactive approach way too often. Hospitals should make sure their nurses are properly supervised and trained to prevent unnecessary deaths like this.