Dion Rassias was awarded a large settlement on behalf of a young woman who was evaluated in an emergency room (ER) after having a seizure. While in the emergency department, a physician wrote a medication order for the powerful anti-seizure medication Dilantin (phenytoin) to be administered intravenously (IV). It is well known in the nursing and medical professions that continuous heart rate, blood pressure or vital sign monitoring must occur while the anti-convulsant medication is being infused due to its potentially lethal respiratory and cardiac effects. After the nurse started the Dilantin infusion on the patient, who was in the hallway on a stretcher and not on a cardiac monitor or automatic blood pressure machine, the nurse left the patient's bedside. When the nurse returned, the Dilantin infusion was completed and the patient did not have a blood pressure. Despite resuscitative measures, the patient was unable to recover from the anoxic brain injury and she passed away. It was determined that not only did the nurse leave the patient unattended and unmonitored in the hallway while the drug was being given, but the Dilantin was infused into the patient in just 20 minutes, instead of over a period of one hour.
In this medical malpractice medication error case, not only was the nurse negligent for leaving the patient unmonitored in the hallway while the medication was being given, she also infused the medication to quickly and it led to the wrongful death of a young woman.
Many times, ER's can be overcrowded but that is no excuse to give substandard or negligent care. In an instance such as this one, the nurse could have seen if there was another patient in the emergency room that did not need a room for monitoring and move that patient out into the hallway to allow proper monitoring of the patient that required it. If that was not possible, the nurse could have put the hallway patient on a portable monitor that would have alarmed if the patient became unstable during the medication administration.
Here at the Beasley medication error law firm, we have on staff doctors and certified emergency room nurses who are familiar with the proper policies, protocols and standard of care. If you or a family member was injured due to an error in an emergency room or nursing negligence, please feel free to contact one of our experienced lawyers, doctors or emergency room nurses at (215) 866-2424 for a strictly confidential and free consultation. To date, we have had over $2 billion awarded on behalf of our injured clients.