Pain Killer to a Baby?
Any medical professional can commit malpractice. And, unfortunately, I have a perfect example in a case I just read about last night. In this case, a nurse allegedly made a mistake and gave painkillers meant for a new mother to her baby. This serious medical mistake happened in State College, Pennsylvania.
What makes the situation worse, is that the nurse, though she should have been aware of her mistake, because the baby “tensed up” causing the nurse to stop and give the medicine to the mom, failed to report what she had done. Fortunately, the husband saw what happened, and when he realized the nurse didn’t report her error, he informed the doctors. The baby had to be taken to another hospital, Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, before she was able to recover. Thankfully, the baby survived this very serious error on the nurses part.
In this case, due to the failure of the nurse to report her mistake along with her serious and potentially grossly negligent actions, the police are investigating. The police have already obtained a search warrant for the mother’s and child’s medical records from the original location in Mount Nittany Medical Center’s maternity ward. It seems, in addition to failing to report what she had done, the nurse allegedly left at the end of her shift, leaving others to identify and react to her error.
Giving the wrong medication, or the wrong dosage of medication is a common form of medical error. Here the nurse might well have confused an IV for the mother with an IV for the child. Careful labeling of IVs is extremely important because it can help prevent medical mistake such as this one. Of course, we have no way of knowing whether the IVs were properly labeled in this situation, or if the nurse simply was rushing and missed the labels. Or perhaps something else happened. Regardless, the nurse’s failure to report the incident is also extremely serious. Had she reported the incident immediately, steps could have been taken to protect the child’s well-being from her mistake. There is no way to know, at this point, whether the baby will completely recover from the dose of toradol, though she has already been released from the hospital. Fortunately, the father was paying attention and acted when he realized what had happened. This event shows why it is absolutely crucial that every patient have an advocate who pays attention and asks questions. Paying attention and asking questions can help prevent medical malpractice and medication mistakes.
Our hearts go out to this family. We hope the baby ends up fine, with no permanent injuries as a result of this terrible mistake.