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Treatment mistakes lead to $1.5M out-of-court settlement

New Jersey residents might agree that it is easy for patients to assume that doctors and nurses do not make mistakes when it comes to their treatment. However, two out-of-state medical professionals made mistakes the day that a 17-year-old girl died. First, a doctor prescribed a dangerous dose of a powerful opiod, and second, the nurse gave it to the teen without question. Her mother contends that had it not been for these treatment mistakes, her daughter would be alive today.

In April of last year, the woman took her daughter to a MedExpress in the county where they lived because she had a sore throat that was causing her a significant amount of pain and discomfort. The doctor at the urgent care center prescribed a shot of four milligrams of Dilaudid, which is stronger than morphine, for pain, and the nurse administered it. When the mother and daughter left MedExpress, they stopped to fill a prescription before proceeding toward home. During that trip, the teen went into cardiac and respiratory arrest. A few hours later, she died at a local hospital.

As it turns out, the dosage of Dilaudid given to the girl was twice the recommended dosage for an adult who has never taken opiods. On top of that, the girl only weighed 105 pounds, which only served to increase the probability of her having a reaction to the drug. The Virginia Department of Health Professions reprimanded both the doctor and the nurse, but that was not enough for the bereaved mother.

The mother accepted a settlement of $1.5 million dollars in connection with her claims. Treatment mistakes can happen to any New Jersey resident. Many mistakes are not serious or fatal as was the case here, but it does happen. If an individual suffers serious or permanent injury as the result of a doctor or hospital error, he or she retains the right to file a medical malpractice claim against the party or parties deemed responsible, and the same is true of a family who loses a loved one.

Source: newsadvance.com, "Settlement in teen's death is $1.5 million", Laurence Hammack, June 20, 2014

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