Anyone who has ever personally undergone surgery or who has had a loved one go through a medical procedure can likely attest to the feelings of fear and anxiety associated with such an event. While doctors and other healthcare professionals are highly experienced and trained, a 2013 study estimated that, annually, between 210,000 and 440,000 patients die after being victims of preventable medical errors.
A jury recently awarded a 56-year-old father of six $12.2 million in relation to brain damage he suffered after an anesthesiologist accidentally administered 18 times the amount of prescribed medication.
The egregious medical mistake occurred while the man was undergoing surgery and experienced an unstable heartbeat. At that time, the surgeon requested that 150 milligrams of the medication amiodarone, which is commonly used to treat heart arrhythmias, be administered. The anesthesiologist then requested three vials of the medication which he believed contained only 50 mg each.
While the hospital required that single doses of medications be stocked to make it easier for doctors to quickly administer the appropriate doses, in this case, the hospital’s pharmacy had stocked the medication dispensing machine with vials of amiodarone that contained 900 mg of the medication. Consequently, the patient was accidentally given 18 times the medication that should have been administered.
The man suffered extensive brain damage which has severely inhibited his ability to provide for his family, function normally and enjoy life. The compensation awarded will be used to pay medical expenses and provide for his future long-term care needs.
Source: The Register-Guard, “Jury returns $12.2 million verdict against PeaceHealth, doctors for causing brain damage,” Jack Moran, Oct. 22, 2015