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Grievous medication error cause of Florida man's death

Medication errors can sometimes be fatal. A South Florida man went into a hospital and later died after a nurse apparently gave him a drug used during executions. The medication error occurred after a 79-year-old man was admitted to North Shore Medical Center in Miami for shortness of breath.

The man's son claims that when he arrived at the hospital, the doctor told him that the nurse gave his father the incorrect medication that subsequently sent him into respiratory arrest. He then asked the doctor whether or not the nurse read the medication label. The son claims that the doctor told him that the packaging for both medications looked similar, and that the nurse grabbed the wrong one. The 79-year-old man was resuscitated but he died nearly a month after the incident.

It is frightening to think that the two medications -- one used to save lives and the other used during executions to end lives -- were stored in such close proximity to one another. Hospital officials say they have conducted an internal review, resulting in several new policies in place, but the family of the deceased man is suing over the error.

Florida residents expect their medical professionals to exhibit the highest standards of care and competence. In many cases, a single error in a medical procedure can lead to an irreversible outcome. Given the tragic outcome of this medication error, it is crucial that all the facts be thoroughly analyzed and a determination be made of the chain of events that led to it.

It is also important that the deceased man's family be given the justice they deserve. Florida law provides for compensation when an individual is injured or killed as the result of medical malpractice. The family will understandably want to know exactly what happened and also hold those found negligent fully accountable for their misdeeds so that others do not have to suffer in the same manner as this man.

Source: The CBS 12 News, "Miami man dies after allegedly receiving execution drug in hospital," Nov. 22, 2011

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