5 Dollars

My life as an at-home momma of 3 amazing kids...it's kind of like shoveling snow in a blizzard.

Monday, September 18, 2006

2 Premature Infants Die Due to Medical Mistake

Did you know that more people die from medical mistakes each year than from automobile accidents? In 2000, medical errors were the third leading cause of death in the USA. (There are 2,000 deaths/year from unnecessary surgery; 7000 deaths/year from medication errors in hospitals; 20,000 deaths/year from other errors in hospitals; 80,000 deaths/year from infections in hospitals; 106,000 deaths/year from non-error, adverse effects of medications - these total up to 225,000 deaths per year in the US from iatrogenic causes which ranks these deaths as the # 3 killer. Iatrogenic is a term used when a patient dies as a direct result of treatments by a physician, whether it is from misdiagnosis of the ailment or from adverse drug reactions used to treat the illness.)

Unfortunately, two deaths that occured this weekend due to medical errors have put Indianapolis in the news. Two newborns, both extremely premature and less than a week old, were administered a fatal dose of heparin at Methodist Hospital on Saturday. The babies each weighed around a pound and were mistakenly given an adult dose of heparin. Apparently a staff member (most likely a member of the pharmacy) placed the incorrect vials of heparin in a drawer of a drug cabinet at the nurses' station of the NICU. The nurse (or nurses) then failed to double-check to make sure the vial matched the concentration listed on the cabinet drawer before administering it to the six infants.

Emmery Miller, 2 days old, and D'myia Alexander Nelson, 5 days old, both died late Saturday, likely from internal bleeding, officials said. Four other babies were also mistakenly given the wrong dose of the anti-clotting drug. One of the surviving infants was transferred to Riley Hospital for Children and was being monitored for possible surgery, while the three others remained at Methodist and were listen in stable condition.

What an unforgiveable mistake. How do you deal with this as a parent? It's devastating enough to lose a child, but to know that your baby should not have died makes it even worse. I can't imagine knowing that a mistake made by at least two members of the professional team you entrusted to care for your child was what caused the death. If it had been my child, they would have had to call security to hold me down and most likely needed to sedate me. I am sure that the grief and rage I would have felt would be unfathomable.

My heart and my prayers go out to the families of Emmery Miller and D'myia Alexander Nelson. I hope that you have can find peace and comfort somehow in this time of immense grief. And I hope you sue the pants off of everyone involved.


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