Family sues hospital for mistakenly giving man execution drug

Our Illinois medical professionals are held to the highest standards in order to provide the best care for each patient on a daily basis. But when hospitals, doctors and nurses fail to follow the standard of care, they are prone to making serious, if not fatal mistakes when it comes to treating or diagnosing a patient.

Victims of medical malpractice in the Chicago area certainly suffer a variety of consequences as a result of a medical professional’s negligence. Patients could be forced to live with debilitating injuries for the remainder of their lives, and other mistakes could result in the wrongful death of a loved one. Although incidents of medical malpractice can be tragic for patients and for their loved ones, victims may be able to take legal action in order to ensure that the responsible party is held accountable for the mistake.

Last week, it was reported that a family recently filed a lawsuit against a hospital in Florida after a nurse had mistakenly given a 79-year-old man a medication commonly used in executions. After receiving the wrong medication for his symptoms, the man suffered further complications and died.

The incident occurred July 30, 2010. According to the lawsuit, the man was admitted at a Miami hospital because he had been experiencing stomach problems and shortness of breath. The man’s family claims that a nurse was supposed to administer the man the antacid Pepcid for his stomach problems. Instead, the nurse gave the man a muscle relaxant that is usually administered during executions or surgeries.

As a result of the medication error, the man went into respiratory arrest. He was resuscitated after the incident, but the man never fully recovered. He died about a month after the incident.

Since the tragic event, the hospital claims that an internal investigation was conducted and that new policies and procedures are now in place to ensure that the mistake does not happen again.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Richard Smith, 79-Year-Old Miami Man, Dies After Accidentally Receiving Execution Drug,” Dean Praetorius, Nov.19, 2011

Wrongful Death


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At Cirignani Heller & Harman, LLP, we represent Illinois clients in Chicago and throughout Cook County, including the cities of Cicero, Elgin, Schaumburg, Oak Park, Maywood, Berwyn, Elmhurst, Evanston, Skokie, Des Plaines, Mount Prospect, Arlington Heights, Palatine and Hoffman Estates. We also help clients in DuPage County, Kane County, Lake County, McHenry County, Will County and Winnebago County. If you have been the victim of medical malpractice in Illinois, CHH Law is the law firm with attorneys that can help.

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